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laryngeal spasm
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laryngeal spasm

what causes laryngeal spasm and is there any medication to prevent an attack.


This discussion is related to Laryngeal Muscle Tension/breathing distress.
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Avatar_n_tn
do you get larynx spasms? what do they feel like. I have been strange tightening sensations in this area and not sure what is going on. My doc just thinks it is allergies but I think it is a spasm or some sort?
foxy339
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Avatar_f_tn
i have been getting larynx spasms for a long time and dread one coming on. It is not triggered by anything in particular and starts by the feeling of a pin pricking inside my throat at the right hand side , always my right side. Within 3 to 5 seconds i am unable to take a breath in, either through my mouth or nose. I try not to panic, which is difficult, and get outdoors as fast as i can where after a minute or two i manage to get a little air into my lungs. For at least 5 min it is like trying to suck air in through a straw which is very distressing.  It takes a good 10min or so for the air to flow freely down . My doc is arranging for an ent doc to have a look.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have exactly what you have described.  I recently went to an ENT who told me my larynx was having spasms and he told me the spasm would pass and not to panic which is extemely difficult as you know.  Mine seems to be triggered by cold symptoms (thats when it's worse) Have you gone to an ENT yet and if so what did he say it was??  Just the thought of having one of them literally makes me shake with fear.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have been diagnosed with laryngeal spasm, an attack literally closing my airway until passing out. I have seen resp. specialist who said there is nothing they can do to treat it, only prevent triggering the spasm, such as not getting a cold there for not coughing which seemd to trigger the spasm. This is not very practical solution considering I have 3 young children who bring home colds. If anyone has any treatments that work in an emergency please let me know
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a spasm this week and can't stop thinking about it. I coughed, went to take a breath and could not. It felt like I might die and I wonder if this is ever fatal or do you just pass out or finally relax enough to get some air. Also, does having one mean that others are more likley?
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Avatar_f_tn
CAUSES: TAKING IN OR BREATHING OUT FAST (HURRYING, RUNNING ECT.) OR USING INHALERS. DRY THROAT,
ACID REFLUX, SILENT ACID REFLUX, ALLERGIES, A VIRUS, NERVE DAMAGE FROM A NECK OR THROAT SURGERY

TREATMENT: BOTOX INJECTIONS (NOT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), KEEPING YOUR THROAT MOIST AT ALL TIMES, ANTIBIOTIC IF A INFECTION (LARYNGITIS), AND BREATH ONLY THRU THE NOSE

I HAD SILENT ACID REFLUX, HAD A SPINAL FUSION-THRU THE NECK AND HAD A VIRUS THAT CAUSED DAMAGE TO THE CORDS.

HOPE SOME OF THIS HELPS!
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Avatar_m_tn

My LARYNGOSPASM Cure
About 3 years ago I had suffered 3 Laryngospasms within 18 months,
the last 2 within 6 weeks of each other, (when I was referred to a specialist.)

The specialist said my Laryngospasms could be caused by my goitre and the
only advice given was to try to breath in slowly during attacks.
  
After this I soon found on the internet that Calcium deficiency can case muscle spasms
so I asked my Doctor to check my Calcium level.      It was OK.
But as a precaution I started to take Calcium anyway....taking just 1/2 of RDA.

Very fortunately for me,  the supplement  bought from a health shop, in addition to Vit D,
contained Magnesium, Copper, Boron and Zinc too.
I had no further attacks for nearly 3 years........  
But after about 2 1/2 years I began to purchase most of my supplement in supermarkets.  
This only contained Calcium and Vit D.

Approx. 4 months after using mostly the supermarket supplement I had 3 very slight
short attacks within about a 4 week period.        Foolishly, I ignored them.
5 days after that third attack I had a full Laryngospasm on 15/1/09.

Immediately I returned to taking my original supplement containing Magnesium etc.
I have not suffered any further Laryngospasms.

As you will know, Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and has been used to prevent
Laryngospams in children during operations on the throat.
(reference on my site and also to an American Laryngospasm specialist and video.)

The RDA for Magnesium for a man over 35 is 420 mg.  
The foods containing the most Magnesium are not those eaten every day,
or at all by many !  
So for me, to absorb 420mg per day could be quite a task, especially as I drink a great
deal of tea as the sole Calcium in milk can deplete the body's Magnesium.

I now believe that my voice box muscles are relaxed just by simply taking 1/2 RDA of
Magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency  can cause muscle spasms and cramp and
although I may not be deficient, that little extra is relaxing my vocal chords and so
prevents attacks.   The copper, boron or zinc too my assist in this.

Of course, this may not work for others and the taking this supplement which
appears to cure my Laryngospasms could be the placebo effect.   But I think not.

Albert Noble.

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Avatar_f_tn
I have had many spasms over the past few months and have learned to take control of it by not panicking and very slowly breathing in through my nose and out through my nose.
The trick is not to panic, which i have learned to do.
I have had my thyroid and three para thyroid removed and it has taken 5 years to stabilise so i would not like to upset the balance by trying any other supplements.
However, the connection between the two is interesting.
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732437_tn?1296908539
I to suffer from laryngospasms - and blame a rough tonsillectomy when I was 17 (33 years ago). I've done my own research and done trial and error to manage this as ENT's and emergncy Dr's have been little help. What helps me is an obsessive avoidance of colds and flus, acid reflux meds in case I have silent reflux, pilocarpine med as needed (saliva stimulator), and salt water gargling at night. I do many of the other suggestions seen here - constant throat lubrication with cough drops and gum, trying not to panic (good luck with that one), and I never yell or talk for long periods of time. I am excited to try Albert's suggestion of adding magnesium. To anyone suffering from this I feel for you! I also wear a medic alert bracelet as I guess a tracheotomy would be neded in an emergency. Good luck to all of you.
Judith
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Avatar_m_tn
If you wish to try what I did bear in mind that the supplement I take also contains boron/copper/zinc as well as Magnesium and VitD.  As I said, when I went to thesupermarkets supplement it only had Calcium/VitD and my spasms returned, so it must be the other Minerals that do the trick for me. As Magnesium is a muscle relaxant it is probably that.   I was very dissapointed that neither my doctor or specialist suggested taking supplements.....I had to cure myself and I am now writing to them about this.
I shall also write to the BMA too as I wonder how many others might just be helped by taking 1/2 RDA of the supplements I take?  But I daresay they will completely ignore my letter....doctors only seem to want to drug you or cut you! :-)

Albert.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry, my previous letter should have been addressed to Judith23, not Makita.
Albert.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
  I have suffered with laryngospasms since I had a surgery and implant of a medical device in which the surgeon had to go into my neck and throat. They are terrifying. I found a very unorthodox way of treating them. It is not preventative, but it is a rescue. I hope it will work if you ever need it. It is very odd. I literally push my head as far into my freezer as I can. I try to get the blower to blow very cold air into my face. I told my ENT about it and he said it made sense to him because of the type of spasm it is. I don't know why it works, but it has worked every time. I grant you, it is still terrifying and each time I wonder if this will be the time it does not work. I think the air may relieve some swelling but I don't know because it happens pretty fast - though not immediately. You have hold on for a few frightening seconds.
  As weird as my treatment sounds, the way it came about it even weirder. I was having a particularly long and terrifying laryngospasm. I tried putting a straw down my throat, because my doc told my to try to breathe like I was breathing through a straw, a little at a time. But there was no air - nothing. I threw the straw and picked up the phone and hit a speed dial number (a friend), but I had no air so I could make no sound. I banged the phone on the counter, but she didn't get it. I realized that I was near losing consciousness and things were going kindof dark. I am not a holy roller or even a religious person, though I try to practice in my own way. Out of nowhere I prayed in my head, "God, please save me." And I felt like I "heard" someone say "Put your head in the freezer." With what seemed like the last ounce of consciousness in me I ran and threw my head in the freezer (laughing to myself that people would find me dead that way), and within second I began to pull in small amounts of air. I tried to stay calm and keep it small (that's important) and just keep pulling in small amounts; they got bigger until I could breath normally. Tears were streaming down my face from feeling suffocated, but it worked.
   The problem is, finding a freezer when it happens out of the house.
I hope this helps someone, and I will be trying the magnesium.
My heart goes out to all of you.
Sheryl
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Avatar_m_tn
On my website is a link to a doctor's technique to stop Laryngospasm immediately wthout using a fridge!
http://umdas.med.miami.edu/documents/mm_articles/93.pdf
Your doctor could show you how to do this.
Albert.

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Avatar_n_tn
I started having these after a bought of Bronchitis. After many trips to ENT and Urgent Care I went to UCLA Med Center. The throat specialist there gave me Botox. It worked. However, I have diminished voice and trouble swallowing water. But it's a lot better than choking. I have to go back in three months to see if I need more injections. Hopefully the underlying problem will be gone and I won't need more. But there's no guarantee.

Hope this helps.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been assured by several doctors that if I pass out because of a laryngospasm, the larynx will relax and I will breathe. It's also important to relax, breathe from the diaphram and find a good landing spot if I do pass out!
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Avatar_n_tn
I too suffer these horrible episodes.  I had thyroid cancer and ever since I have been plauged by these very violent spasms.  I have been all over the country seeing specialist since my cancer was so reare there are only six known survivors wolrd wide at this time.  One Dr. told me to try and breath through your nose, didn't make much sense since I have no airway at all but it has something to do with the mechanism of action and just trying this has eased it a little, not much but a little.  I know we are always suppose to wake up if we pass out but getting to that point is terrifying.  Had one the other night, for me always precipitated by taking a sip of something.  Please keep me informed inf anyone come up with a good solution.  Staying calm has never worked for me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so glad to have found these message boards and hear all of your experiences. I just recently started experiencing them, and am having 1-3 waking me up in the middle of the night, these are much worse than the small ones that are happening every day. I am trying to set up an appointment with an ENT specialist, but unfortunately realize I need to load myself up with information, becuase it seems like as a patient, we really have to advocate for ourselves to get help with these awful things.

Albert, that article seems awesome, but I don't understand it, I need an anatomy textbook to understand where and what i'm supposed to be doing. Could you help explain?

I love the freezer idea, I'm going to try that if this happens again (let's just cross our fingers that it never happens to any of us ever again). And your story is incredible in terms of how you discovered the method. Anything that works, calming ourselves, and breathing slowly through the nose...

Best to all of you
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As a follow up to my note here dated Feb 18, 2009, I just figured out 2 more things that help prevent my throat spasms - sleeping sitting up and wearing a surgical mask. The sitting up might be related to silent GERD that I still don't think I have that as I have no other symptoms. The mask humidifies the air - dry air like when the heating system is on or a cold, therefore dry, day are much harder on my throat - and by wearing the mask the immediate air breathed in is humidified by my own breath.

I am taking Albert's suggestion of a daily calcium supplement with magnesium, boron, zinc, and copper; and take a reflux med daily in case I have silent reflux.

Cold and flu season, and colder weather, is starting here in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I have had a cold/flu for 7 days now - the biggest trigger for my spasms. So the fear of spasms intensifies. This week I have had several small episodes where I was able to stop a complete air way block, and 2 worse ones. That is not bad for me after a cold - but I'm not over being sick yet and I'm always the worst at the end

Just thought I'd pass along the 2 suggestions for you all in case they help you to.

Judith
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had only a handful of spasms in the last 12 years, but each time the psychological recovery is horrible.  It takes me weeks to feel relaxed.  I have found that during the spasm if I tip my chin up, it forces the airway open. I had a spasm yesterday while I was getting ready for church and I was home with just my boys (husband had gone earlier).  I have such anxiety about it now, that I don't know which is worse... going through the spasm or worrying about having another and feeling like my throat will close anytime. Thanks for all the ideas that everyone has contributed...
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Avatar_f_tn
I had thyroid cancer surgery in April of this year and have one paralyzed vocal cord. I just had my first laryngospasm today while awake. I now realize I have been having them in the middle of the night, but not as bad. I was cleaning my closet today lifting clothes onto the bed and I coughed. (Starting with sinus congestion too.) I have never experienced anything so scary. My first instinct was to stick my head out the window. It barely helped but I kept telling myself to calm down and breathe. I was so afraid that I was going to die in my messy bedroom, for all to see, as well as the front page of the newspaper stating "Speech Pathologist dies of laryngospasm." How Ironic would that be. I'm already taking alot from my fellow speech friends for having a paralyzed cord as they know I love to talk. My doctor asked me if I have to talk alot at work, while working with handicapped/autistic students!! I'm starting the magnesium tonight.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi everyone i have been experiencing these bouts for about 12 years now on and off, I didn't know what they were until i googled the symptoms and came accross your comments. I am now convinced this is what i have and will be suggesting this to my doctor. I experience the worst one a few days ago and have been terrified of it happening again. I constantly have a dry throat and chew chewing gum all the time to make siliva. My doctor sent me to an asthma specialist when i told him my symptoms but that didn't help. I am constantly coughing. When i have a bad bout it starts suddenly with a sort of intense tickly in my throat followed by chokeing and being unable to get a breath. Sometimes the tickle is worse than other times and the one a few days ago was the worse i've ever had Thought i was going to die. I was very supprised to hear there isn't a cure for it. But at least i'm a bit more aware of what it might be that i have I will also be trying the vitamins albert suggested. I am so pleased i found this site. Things are starting to make sense now THANK YOU ALL Hope something is found to help soon  Good Luck everyone!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I too started with laryngospasms 3 years ago.  Although this has only happened 4 times the experence is horrifying.  Two times that this has happened have been at work.  The first thing everyone wants to do is the heimlich maneover.  Because I can't speak it is difficult to tell them not to do this, which makes me panic even more.  Any suggestions?
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Avatar_m_tn
Myself, my one sister, my brother, and my mother have all suffered with this for as long as I can remember.  I thought everyone did, until the day someone outside our family saw it happen to me.

This is the first time I have searched the web for any information on this.  I saw an ENT Dr. many years ago and he said if I pass out, things should relax and I would live.  Hard to relax when you can't breath.

Many things can trigger a spasm for me, but worst of all is a cold which I have now.  I have had three attacks within 24 hr, hence the reason I am afraid to go to bed right now and it is 2a.m.  My body is worn out.  

One thing I have found that actually prevents many spasms from going "full blown" is taking a small amount of Buckley's cough medicine.  It seems to open up the airways faster and gives me a small peace of mind that I have help.(does take your breath away for a few seconds, but usually when I feel the tickle, lose of breath is not far away. ) It doesn't work as well for the ones triggered by a cold, but it is great for the other times when it "just happens."  Buckley's has saved me hundreds of times.  I take it everywhere I go.  Running, skiing, everywhere.  Keep it close by and take a sm amount of it as soon as you feel the first indication that one is on it's way.  99% of the time, the tickle will go away.  It has saved me many times driving the car etc.

I  will also try  the suggestions I've read in these posts.  
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I am so glad to have found this site!  My first spasm occurred at my work. Luckily, I work in a doctor's office. I don't know what triggered it, but first I coughed, like when a bit of saliva or water goes down the wrong way, and suddenly my throat closed up, and even working really hard to breathe, all I could manage was tiny bits of air, and I sounded like a donkey with a severe asthma attack. My doctor came out of his office, and asked if I was choking, as he moved behind me for the Heimlich maneuver. I motioned him away, and he (and the rest of the office by now) just watched me struggle. I did hear him tell everyone that I wasn't choking, and that it would pass, and spoke soothingly to me. It felt like it went on forever, but was only around a minute. That was long enough for me to start seeing the edges of my vision start to close in, and I felt faint.  And as everyone here seems to have heard, once you faint, the spasm (and the rest of you) relaxes. I didn't pass out, but I guess getting close was enough for the spasm to pass. It's happened another 3 or 4 times in the last year, but much milder than the first. Post nasal drip from colds or allergies seems to do it. I hate getting sick now, not only because it makes another attack more likely, but because the first attack freaked me out so bad I now have intermittent anxiety. I just had a small lanrygospasm attack today, fortunately/unfortunately in front of my daughter, and I felt the anxiety kicking in afterwards. I'm not good at distracting myself convincingly, so I had to take 1/2 an Ativan.  I am about to go to my medicine cabinet and will take the vitamins suggested above. Thank you for that, Albert, and I will have my doctor explain to me how to do the technique on the website you suggested. I'll also keep the chin-lift in mind. I was sent to ENT for a scope, and all the vocal chords etc, are fine. I also had a barium swallow to check for reflux, and that showed a bit of reflux in a lying down position, which might explain the nighttime episodes. I might just be starting reflux medicine as well. The worst part is the anxiety these episodes started. Feeling mortal is not very relaxing...Sigh...
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Avatar_m_tn
[I am making this duplicate posting because my last posting didn't turn out right, and there is no way to delete it]

I recently had spinal fusion surgery after suffering with the effects of damaged discs for almost 8 years. I tried to avoid surgery but after painkillers, traction and chiropractic didn't do the trick, I threw in the proverbial towel.

Four months later, I had the first of many, many of what I now know to be nocturnal laryngospasms. When I'm about to fall asleep, my throat spasms shut, preventing me from falling asleep no matter how tired I am (I've been kept awake to the point of hallucination by that). Sleeping sitting bolt-upright doesn't seem to make a difference in this condition.

I now know that during neck injuries or surgeries (same thing, as far as the body is concerned), any nerves which get damaged during the procedure re-generate, usually in about 4 months. And they get hyper-sensitive when they do. My orthopedic surgeon didn't tell me that this could be an after-effect of the surgery. No other doctor whom I saw had a clue either. Since the nocturnal laryngospasms made it impossible for me to get to sleep on many, many nights, I spent many involuntary all-nighters surfing the web for more information on what I had. That's how I found out. Even my pulmonologist, who's actually pretty sharp and genuinely cares about me, confided to me that even he was totally stumped.

I went to the ER over a dozen times over what I now know to be nocturnal laryngospasm. Once when I tried to see my family doctor about it, I was told that he was out and I had to see another doctor from that office. That lazy good-for-nothing hospital-pimp obviously had better things to do than to take my case seriously that day because all he did for me was to sent me straight to the ER. Of course the doctors there told me I was “fine”, just like the half-dozen times before, and after I'd wasted a whole day there lying on a damn gurney.

I was eventually diagnosed with acid reflux by a doctor who told me to take the pills he'd given me and “eat whatever you want”. Instead of following his non-advice I consulted “Dr. Google” who put me on the GERD diet. I've been avoiding acidic and spicy foods as well as chocolate and coffee. It seems to help noticeably. I do take Nexium (prescribed by another doctor) and supplements and these help too, but I still have to inhale albuterol in order to avoid the spasms entirely.

I've read about botox shots and surgery, but I'm afraid that they might just make things worse (bad as my condition is, I can see that there are worse things). I'd like to avoid stomach fundoplication (that's when they basically make origami out of your stomach; painful, takes a long time to heal and can make eating difficult). Natural supplements and remedies have not eliminated the problem. Am I going to have this problem for the rest of my life?

In any event, the worst thing about all this apart from the condition itself is having incompetent, clueless doctors look at me like I'm dumb or crazy, and feeling like I'm the only person in the world that has this condition when I'm clearly not..

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi guys,
I've had these tickling spasm since teenage years, happened once or twice a year... now I'm 31 and it still frightens me. I never knew what it is until I found this thread!! after all these years.. I had figured I have to live with it and will never know what it is - I thought I'm the only one...
What I used to think is - it could be something caused by dry air, because it used to happen in summer or stuffy, dry rooms or when I was singing or yelling a lot... So I started taking a bottle of water with me everywhere - it's helped me most of the times. I've had it very light or as a terribly strong spasm, and I remember going outside and breathing cooler air would help, also drinking. i think the drinking reflex must relax the muscle there? It usually helps perfectly when you start drinking in one go, just at the moment the tickling starts. One time when it started I was so relaxed that I looked even into the mirrow to figure if I can see something in my throat...Another time it was quite severe and I felt sick to my stomach like I'm going to throw up in the same time I was trying to breath and that tickle would make it almost impossible. My dad happened to be there and I remember when I tried to tell him about it got worse and than I touched him, and this must have relaxed me and it started to feel better. I think there is some psychological aspect there - I guess that's why doc's say to stay calm. It just takes a lot of self control and faith.
I like the magnesium idea, I've had this thought, too, since it felt like a spasp and spasms are cured with magnesium.
The freezer idea makes sense, too.
Anyway, I'm a little relieved to finally have found out what this stupid scary thing is and that actually other people suffer from it, too.
I wish everybody nerves of steal and stay healthy!!! All the best.

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi guys,
I've had these tickling spasm since teenage years, happened once or twice a year... now I'm 31 and it still frightens me. I never knew what it is until I found this thread!! after all these years.. I had figured I have to live with it and will never know what it is - I thought I'm the only one...
What I used to think is - it could be something caused by dry air, because it used to happen in summer or stuffy, dry rooms or when I was singing or yelling a lot... So I started taking a bottle of water with me everywhere - it's helped me most of the times. I've had it very light or as a terribly strong spasm, and I remember going outside and breathing cooler air would help, also drinking. i think the drinking reflex must relax the muscle there? It usually helps perfectly when you start drinking in one go, just at the moment the tickling starts. One time when it started I was so relaxed that I looked even into the mirrow to figure if I can see something in my throat...Another time it was quite severe and I felt sick to my stomach like I'm going to throw up in the same time I was trying to breath and that tickle would make it almost impossible. My dad happened to be there and I remember when I tried to tell him about it got worse and than I touched him, and this must have relaxed me and it started to feel better. I think there is some psychological aspect there - I guess that's why doc's say to stay calm. It just takes a lot of self control and faith.
I like the magnesium idea, I've had this thought, too, since it felt like a spasp and spasms are cured with magnesium.
The freezer idea makes sense, too.
Anyway, I'm a little relieved to finally have found out what this stupid scary thing is and that actually other people suffer from it, too.
I wish everybody nerves of steal and stay healthy!!! All the best.

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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Everyone!

Thank God I found this thread!!  I have had two spasms, one about four months ago and one this morning at 3:00 a.m.  It woke me up from a deep sleep.  The first one I had was during the time when I had a cold, so now reading everyone's stories, that one makes sense.  The one from this morning was definately GERD related because I had some belching after the spasm and today my throat is very sore.  Not like a sore throat sore, but farther down in my throat almost to my chest and I have a raspy voice today.  Trying to stay calm is a joke to say the least, this is very scary but I work with a speech pathologist and she assured me that if I do pass out, the muscles will relax and breathing will be restored.  I guess I don't really need to see an ENT since there is no "cure" although I will tell my primary MD when I go to see him and he will probably send me to one anyways.  

The two spasms I have had are at night, none during the day.  I do snore and I do smoke (very bad I know, another reason to quit I'm sure).  So keeping my throat moist, taking a lonzenge before bed and definately starting the supplement therapy that Albert suggested is my plan for now.  I am just so glad that I found all of you and some suggestions because I REALLY never want to have another spasm!  My sincere condolences to those of you who have this as a chronic condition due to surgeries/cancer/etc.  

I am definately saving this thread to my favorites.  
Take care everyone!!!
Lisa M.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had this "tickle" in my throat that led to uncontrollable coughing and difficulty breathing for years.  Usually it happens in late winter when heating dries out the air.  Moistening my throat was usually enough.  In the last 2 years, they have turned into the inability to breathe scenario that everyone is describing.  None of the throat moistening that used to work helps.  Buckleys makes me gag.  My MD put me on inhalers.  The first night, I tried to use the inhaler and, of course, could not get any air to inhale.  I knew that caffeine is a bronchodilator, so I took a shot of strong coffee (my husband had some already made from earlier in the day) and it seemed to relax things enough (may have been just the act of swallowing?).  I have used it every night since and it works well as long as I don't start to cough again.  At the very least, it allows me to be able to use the inhaler.  I sleep almost sitting up because I cough if I lie down.  I do have post nasal drip which seems to have started this current run of attacks.  Preventing the cough is the main thing for me because after it starts, it feels like I'm coughing my lungs out (dry cough) and can't inhale to refill them.  As you all have mentioned, this is a very scary feeling and I don't find much comfort in the idea of passing out to relieve it.  I will try the magnesium mix and the reflux med.  Thanks for all the ideas!
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Avatar_m_tn
I also have had this for 4 years, day and night.  My asthma/immunology/allergist diagnosed me with Laryngeal/Pharyngeal Reflux Disease.  The acids in the stomach come back up on the vocal cords, essentially choking you(worse) when you have other symptoms( cold, sinusitis, etc..).  I have had Ulcerative Colitis for 17 years, and didn't 'get' any reflux until I was put on Remicade.  The spasms never happened until about 3 months into the remicade treatment.  I have had them every where, and I can't sip water when I am in one.  I now can't go to a certain Target, because I scared all of the little kids in the toy section!!!  I had one that lasted about 6-7 minutes this morning,in front of my 9 year old.  Not fun.  I will try the magnesium, although I don't do so well w/ minerals.  I will give anything a try.  Omerprazole worked for a while, then I had to take 2 a day, then I went to pantoprazole, now I am taking 2 a day (80mg).  I have a sinus infection now, and just went on prednisone for a week, that hopefully will kick it out.  I totally appreciate all of your comments, especially the one from the Dr.'s web page. I will print that and try it next time!  I will be sure to always know where the freezer section is!! Thanks
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I'm new to this club.  Thank goodness for these blogs.  I have lots of questions that I haven't seen responses address;  will this now be daily?  Can you tell me some of the events that trigger an spasm?  I do not have a cold, flu, cough, nor anything such as this. I have a mild post nasal dip.  Tell me what to expect if I get a bad cold.  Just two or three mild coughs has caused me to spasm.  Cold issues can cause a bad cough which I wonder how I would manage.  It didn't take me very long before I learned by a very deliberate slow deep inhale or exhale the minute I feel the throat "tickle" that I can stop or control the spasm.  I continue this exercise until the throat sensation is over which might be 60 sec.  I've noticed a problem with very cold drinks.  My first event was last Saturday. I'm 61.  What about aging with this type of disorder.  Has anyone's doctor been uncomfortable having you as a patient due to this?  Many articles relate this to allergies and I've never been bothered by allergies before.  I'm a pet lover.  Can I keep my pets if I have VCD?  Will I turn into someone who has to live in a "clean" house with no carpets, etc.?   Does this interfer in anyway with your social life?  Does this stop you for going to certain places?  Will this go away as suddenly as it started?   Are there support groups where you gather and share facts - treatments, etc.?  I'm in Orlando..FL  Are there statistics on the number of individuals suffering for VCD?  Any cinical/medical studies?
Thanks for your great posts.  You've helped me a lot already.  
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I'm having a tough time of it. 6 spasms tonight alone and it is only 3:13 am so the night isn't over yet. I have a stash of water, cough drops,and gum in my pockets and beside where I sleep to help stop an attack.

To back up, I had a cold for a few days 2 weeks ago, was just recovered then had a relapse. So the spasms have been going on for 2 weeks. My cold now is almost gone and I'm at my worst laryngospasm risk time. I've been doing everything I can think of to prevent them - saliva stimulation medication, humidifying the air, salt water gargling, not talking (missed work to avoid talking), reflux medication, ongoing calcium with magnesium, boron, zinc, and copper, even sleeping sitting up on the couch. I am exhausted. Other years I have tried the hospital emergency department but they can't help or I'd go there again. I don't drink coffee and have been hesitant to try drinking coffee at night because I am exhausted now and don't want to do anything else that might disrupt my sleep, but I plan to get some in when I leave the house again. I have another ENT appointment next month, after a 6 month wait, to ask if I can do anything 1. to prevent them or 2. stop an attack once started. My last ENT diagnosed laryngospasm but said it is of unknown cause and his only suggestion was the reflux medication. My husband doesn't understand the reaction to an attack - if sleeping I sit bolt upright searching for my water, etc. If it is a bad one (complete closure for many seconds) then my heart pounds and I sweat right down my arms and legs. I sleep with a cough drop in my mouth to help prevent them but now my mouth is irritated - I use sugar free to prevent tooth decay but too much artificial sweetener gives one some awful gas pains. I live in fear of not being able to stop a spasm - even something like a dental filling (mouth open, dry throat). Last week I discovered a lump just above my breast - who knew there is breast tissue up almost to your collar bone? and have a hospital visit scheduled for next week. What if I need general anesthetic and can't stop a spasm.

This forum has been a great comfort me, just knowing I'm not the only one.

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I too have these spasms and I'm a Paramedic..I'm terrified it's going to happen while I'm treating someone..went to the ER tonight and they told me my ear was red and my lymph nodes were swollen so gave me steroids and penicillin and sent me on my way..I just had another episode before getting on here..have been getting several a day..wish I knew what to do to stop them!!
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I am sitting in a hospital room at 0300 due to bronchitis that lead to 6 or better laryngyspasms in 45 min.  I am a 54 ;yr old ICU RN who has had these spasms since age 30 when I gained some weight and started having heartburn.  Only had them at night with heartburn and only last 5 -15 sec. Got off work yesterday morning, had been coughing and could tell I was getting a chest cold. Major cough attack at home that lead to this spasm.  As a nurse I thought I should be able to work through it by breathing into a bag, going outside, (it was 38 degreees), TRYING to stay calm and waiting it out.  I finally came to the ER.  Time and lots of ativan and steroids has helped.  No one had any real answers for me so I am so glad I found you.  I will buy supplements before going home.  I will ask about a muscule relaxer to take when I get chest colds.  I will monitor my GERD much better.  This was so scarey and thank you all for your comments.  I feel so much better about this.  
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My spasms began about a year after i had my thyroid out. They were mild at first and very infrequent, mostly occuring at school in the middle of talking to the class (im a high school teacher).  

Symptoms were like everyone here has described. Very brief tickling in the throat sensation and then an inability to breathe in (even tho i could breathe out). Sometimes it felt like i had swallowed spit down the wrong way even though i hadnt, but couldnt seem to clear my throat

I would run out of class, try my best to take slow breaths and not panic (which was very hard) and take tiny sips of water till i could start drawing in a breath again. It would take about 10mins for my breathing to return to normal.

i never knew when these attaks would happen as sometimes i could go weeks or months before another attack. The doctors told me not to worry and that i would not lose consciousness and that it was a stress/panic attack. Even though i didnt feel stressed i was sent to a psychologist who after seeing me for 2 weeks found that i was neither stressed or depressed.

Then suddenly last year, just before taking my first mouthful of food at dinner i had a very severe attack. It was quicker than any previous attack and in a matter of about 3 seconds my breathing cut off completely and i couldnt speak at all. Luckily the family was there to ring the ambulance. I stood up to run to the sink to get water (as this had helped in the past) but my legs gave way and i collapsed to the floor. My family watched in horror as i turned blue in the face and finally lost consciousness. (so much for what the doctor said about not losing consciousness). I was unconscious for about 2 mins before i came to and was able to take in tiny bits of air. I woke to find myself in a sitting position with my head between my knees and the ambulance person there.

After being rushed to hospital i was diagnosed as having a severe asthma attack (even though i have never had asthma) and was put on ventilin and oxygen. It took 4 hours before my breathing returned to normal and i could actually speak again.

This was my wake up call. After this incident i was determined to get to the bottom of what was causing this and what it was. I saw countless  of specialists and under went every imaginable blood test and scan including ultrasounds, xhest xrays and  MRI scans to discover what was wrong with me ...of course every test came back normal. One ear and throat specialist told me it was reflux (something which ive never had) and he put me on reflux medication for two months. This didnt help. Another specialist said it was caused by a calcium deficiency even tho blood tests showed my calcium levels were fine.

Finally a neurologist diagnosed it as a vocal chord spasm and told me nothing could be done other than botox injections (and i dont like the sound of those at all). He gave me a ventalyn puffer and said if i felt an attack coming on to use it. But thats kind of impossible because the attack happens so quick and how can u inhale on a puffer when you cant breathe in at all?

Ive only had two more attacks since my hospital incident a year ago, both within two days and both just before dinner at my parents house and at my inlaws. This time even tho i couldnt breathe in at all and had collapsed my husband managed to spray the ventilin in my mouth. Some of it must have been absorbed and i was able to take in little breaths without totally losing consciousness.

id be interested in hearing from anyone who has had the botox injections and whether this has stopped their attacks.

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..... have you tried the "head in the freezer to start breathing" trick? It really works for me when I have a total airway stoppage.

Judith
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Hi all,

I would like to first say THANK YOU to these MedHelp message boards. If it wasn't for these I would have not diagnosed myself with Laryngospasm (later confirmed by the doctor). It took multiple doctor visits, being told it was either asthma or anxiety. I was like, no, my throat is closing up, I know anxiety, I know asthma... this is not that.

So Thank you to all of you for sharing your wisdom, I've tried some of the suggestions and found cold air is one thing that helps me. For 3 months this winter they were waking me nightly 1-5 times. Sometimes lasting minutes and waking up everyone in the house. terrifying.

The ENT suggested botox injections or a tracheaotomy, to which I said no. If they weren't going to kill me, I certainly wasn't going to lose my voice (however, I can see if they had gotten worse why I might have opted for the botox, they are so awful).

In any case, I've done all sorts of things: I don't eat before bed now, I prop my head, I lie on my left side to sleep, I healed the cough that was stressing my throat, breath slowly if they happened... AND, worked with my throat chakra. I know it sounds like hocus-pocus, but when you're desperate you try everything. And, the spasms started getting better the day after I sent an email experssing something to a close friend that I had been holding something back from.

The more I've expressed my voice, the less spasms I've had. In any case, it certainly doesn't hurt to try!

After my terrifying and confusing experiences I started a webpage called http://www.laryngospasm.org to post what I have found out about it, and different links. It's just starting and a work in progress, but if anyone has resources/tips/tricks/advice, anything that they would like me to post on the site so we as a community can try to help each other, I would love it.

You can email me at ***@**** with any information you have, and I would be happy to post your story or experience as well (anonymously or by name).

Good luck everyone!!!
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For the past 10 years I have had Dysphonia and Laryngeal Spams until last December.

The Dysphonia was constant and I would be gasping for breath after only a couple of words. I would also have gasping attacks at frequent and random times.

I have suffered Gastric Reflux for many years and was treated with Pantoprazole from 2001.

After ruling out throat cancer in 2000 the problem was put down to nerve damage to my throat causing the Dysphonia and Asthma for the breathlessness.

After 7 long years the Asthma was ruled out as I can easily push 600 on a peak flow meter.

Eventually the problem was diagnosed as an extreme sensitivity of the Larynx caused by acid misting in the throat resulting in something similar to a Valsalva Manouvre so that breathing out was difficult.

Increasing or changing the proton pump inhibitor reflux medication would give relief for a short while then it all returned.

Eventually a Nissen Fundoplication and Hiatus Hernia repair done laparoscopically has done the trick. No Reflux, no Gasping attacks, no breathing problems, voice more or less back to normal. Life back again.

The cause of the problem has been Gastric Aerosols and the Oesophageal wrap has now stopped them.

It took a Voice Therapist with vision, a unique Gastroenterologist and Respitory Specialist and an excellent Surgeon as well as dogged determination not to accept No to get this solved.
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Hi
I have had a nissan 8 weeks ago and Ph test, i have been told i do not need tablet for reflux.  But since the operation i have had a dry cough, feeling that something is stuck right in the back of my throat, i have also had a laryngo spasms before i had my nissan re done, this terrified me i thought i was going to die.  I am worried that my throat is getting very dry all the time and water makes it more dry.  I now have a problem with sugar and have severe episodes (attacks), so i am limited to what i can drink to lubricate my throat.
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Hi there,
I wrote earlier this year, and again I am happy to read all your comments and to know more about it. Thanks Meghan for the website, too!
I have not found yet any great solution, but I ve been taking magnesium and last time when I had the stupid spasm I did open the freezer and stayed there, also I made a tea and I pressed behind my ears, apperently there is a point. The attack didn't go bad, so I don't know what actually helped, but it took 2-3 minutes to 100 % go away. I still had my heart beating like crazy and afterwards shaky legs...
I did notice though - it always seems to occure when I am thinking of something that is stressing me. I don't know if when I am stressed I cramp my throat or what, but yeah bad worries seem to be a trigger.
I wonder if the yoga breathing will help?
Cheers to all of you!
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I write this a half-hour after having experience a severe episode.  I'm fine now, but my throat is raspy and I'm shaken.
I started getting the spasms over a year ago after belching up food which then entered into my lungs, a freak episode I'd never before experienced. Since then, I've had repeated bouts of laryngospasms, indicating to me I had damaged something during the initial upchuck occurrence because I'd never had these spasms previously.
Two things trigger my spasms: a) chocolate; and b) succumbing to a doze while sitting reading or watching TV. I gave up chocolate cold turkey a year ago. Just tasting chocolate will trigger choking spasms - again, I used to eat chocolate almost daily until the food-into-the lungs attack. Tonight's episode was triggered by saliva entering my larynx as I started to nod off on the sofa. I've found that sitting and leaning forward helps during an attack. I will also try the other techniques and supplements mentioned here.
My doctor was convinced I had GERD. A barium test showed I didn't. Nonetheless, he prescribed an acid neutralizer, then declared me cured. He's useless on this thing.
I guess we're all just condemned to live with this horrifying condition.

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Who would be willing for me to post their story on my website http://www.laryngospasm.org?

All of these are so helpful, and I know have really helped me. I bet they could help others struggling like us as well. The website has my email if you want to write an official entry. I will post it.

Thanks!
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It would be useful for all here if those of us who are taking magnesium supplements would comment on whether they help or not.
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I started having a few of these recently, and they are so scary.

I went to the University Hospital and the head of the ENT gave me 2 things which really helped.

First, VENTOLIN.  This stops the attack.  It is the puffer that asthmatics use for asthma attacks.  When you can't breathe, grab your puffer, and spray it into your mouth.  It will find its way down and open up your airway.  At least, it always does for me.  Also, if you use it before, it can help prevent an attack, I find.  I don't like to use  it often, but when I do, it works.

Secondly, a small amount of anesthetic for the throat.  This stops the coughing which can lead to an attack.  I don't use this often, but did at the beginning to give myself a break from coughing.  I just find that when I use a cough suppressant, I just cough a lot more when it wears off.

Another thing.  My throat irritation seems to have originated from sleeping in a badly ventilated room with a lot of wood treated with arsenic.  Arsenic is found in any wood that is not straight from the tree, and sometimes in drinking water (this can be very common).  Have yourself checked out if you think this may be the case with you.
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WOW. thank you to everyone who has posted these comments. A big help and relief to know its not just us. My husband suffers from larygeal spasms and was diagnosed about 20 years ago. He was having an attack once every 4 - 6 months and was told to HOLD HIS BREATH this works wonders for him and he can control an attack which usaually occurred in the middle of the night. He recently had pneumonia and since then has been having up to 8 attacks per day. This is terrifying for him and me not to mention our kids, and he is now not wanting to be alone for too long. I feel absoulutely helpless, all i can do is comfort him and try and reassure him during an attack. Fortunately we have not got to the stage of passing out but as each attack seems to be worse i feel we are getting closer to this point and we are both really scared to go there. We are exhausted at the moment as we are not wanting to go to sleep and once we do finally doze off we are woken with a really bad attack. Holding his breath is just not working at the moment, i think this must be due to the recent bought of pneumonia and picking up a virus along the way which has given him a cough. We are definately going to try the Magnesium and keep our fingers crossed. It's great to be able to speak to people who know what we are going through as the Dr's just don't get it and it's very frustrating. Seeing another Dr in 2 days to see if he can put any light on the subject but i won't be holding my breath. Anyway thank you so much for sharing your stories it really does help..
Happy New Year to you all. Stay safe.
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I am so relieved to find this site!   I  just a few months ago experienced my first attack and I feel exactly the same----its a terrifying ordeal!  Several trips to the emergency room and not much satisfying info.  Finally the last trip, one of the Drs mentioned laryngeal spasms.  Everyone else had been treating me for an asthma attack.  I was sent to a lung specialist and he put me on an increased dose of acid reflux medication and also prescribed valium as it helps to ease muscle spasms.  Then just to be safe and try and prevent the coughing from starting at all, he gave me a cough syrup with a bit of antihistamine in it to possibly help shrink the swelling in the throat. I think I originally got it when I had a bout of laryngitis followed by a bit of chemical poisioning when I was killing ants in my house with an insecticide and didn't leave the room afterwards. I woke up out of a dead sleep to a violent cough and that was my first experience with this.  I was tested for whooping cough and came back positive but oddly didn't do a lot of coughing.  Just a couple of violent ones about a week apart. All of his "cures" seemed to work and after about a week of sleeping upright in a chair. I ventured back to bed and only started feeling the tightness come on again when I was REALLY stressed one day.  The minute I got home and relaxed, it opened up.   I have experienced the closing by drinking very cold drinks and I couldn't gulp the water---only small sips.   I started taking magnesium a few weeks ago  for something else and will definately try the freezer technique. It just happened to me a few moments ago and I was trying to distract myself by trying to find out more info when I came across this website and all your info.  Thank you so much.  I know that I am not alone but this also tells me that it is a condition that I may have the rest of my life which is a bit disconcerting. Keep posting and I'll keep reading.
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As a repeat contributor to this forum I watch with interest suggestions from others and feel for newer folks who are experiencing laryngeal spasms.

Since my March 19, 2010 post following suggestions on this site has been the best help. This winter my throat has been the best in many years... so far. Thank you all.

I had yet another ENT appointment after waiting for months. The Dr ignored me, spoke only to my husband, was rough with the "tube down the nose to look at my throat" instrument, (I have had this several times before and never had no lubricant and my head wrenched around like that with it in), and for treatment at the end he finally looked at me and said  "when you feel your throat closing reach for your husbands arm, touch him and breath calmly"??? He said it is no big deal and easy to treat by touching my husband. I get the trying to relax bit but think there is more to it.

Again, keep up the communication when you figure out something that does work, and thanks for helping me feel like I'm not alone with this.
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I have these spasms for at least 20 years but intensified about 6 years ago.  At first Dr. felt was Acid Reflux and did the test for that and really didn't have large amount of acid.  Was put on Cyclobenzaprine (Muscle Relaxer) which does help.  However, a couple of years later had one of my worst attacks in a packed restaurant - had to run out of restaurant gasping for air.  After about 2-3 minutes of trying to force air in and out, I calmed down.  Try to watch my food intact, however, ate chile yesterday afternoon; woke up at 2:30 am with acid reflux - a bad attack of not getting air. Several minutes to recover and scared my husband to even crying.  Set up in chair remainder of evening. So scary and you think you will die.  Doesn't help when Drs say you'll pass out, larynx will relax and you'll be OK.  Will definitely try the magnesium.  Thought I was alone in my misery.  So glad I found this site.  Best of luck to everyone.
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It's about 2 years since I wrote here about my  magnesium cure for laryngospasm.
Just to update...I am still taking magnesium and still completely free of any attacks.  Mg may not work for all, but it works for me.
Albert.
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I have just been to the hospital today after having an op on my foot in July,and I have been told I am no longer able to have a general anaesthetic due to laryngeal spasms when coming round afterwards and I also have sleep aponea,I need to now wether this is something else I now have or is it just when under GA,I also suffer from acid reflux.
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Oh my word - I am so thankful I found this site.  I had my fourth neck fusion in 9/2010.  Afterwards, I had horrible problems with choking, and then developed a sphenoid sinus infection.  When it was not clearing up, I had sinus surgery in November of 2010 and then osteomyelitis in the turbinate area where it is slowly healing. Cultures were done and I'm now on nebulized antibiotics.  Very long story short - modified barium swallow was negative.  Cultures showed two bacteria so I'm on two antibiotics and an antiinflammatory through the neb antibiotics.  I am choking constantly on post nasal drip.  Constantly - to the point I may throw up or pass out.  i'm a nervous wreck.  Not only does my head hurt all the time, the post nasal drip is making me nuts.  The choking is making me nuts.  I don't know what to do.  I'm afraid my docs think I"m nuts at this point but I'm at my wits end.  Quite frankly I'm scared to death.
Lori F.
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Wow, thank you all for your words.  I too suffer from these spasms.  Two years ago we had our first child via c-section.  Two weeks later I had one of these spasms at 3 AM.  Unlike any of what I've read, I ended up in a grand mal seizure.  Thankfully I had hit my husband super hard in the stomach before passing out, and he woke up to find me seizing.  Obviously we went to the ER via ambulance, and I was released knowing there would be further investigation.  Two weeks later to the day and time, BOOM, I had another "episode."  No seizure this time, but identical otherwise.  My husband woke up with a slug to the stomach; he came 'round to my side of the bed, and talked me through it.  I started to breathe as I was taught for voice lessons, via the abdomen.  Knowing I was getting some air made me relax without much panic, and it passed after a few minutes.  I've had MRI's done to my brain, and we did find a spot just about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in from my left ear.  The conclusion is that the seizure was a fluke, and the episodes were probably related to the heavy drugs from the c-section as I do not tolerate medications well at all.  I still have to go in for a yearly MRI to keep tabs on the spot but all looks fine to date.  I finally realized this was more than likely just a situational thing, and I put the worry of having another episode out of my mind.  UNTIL TODAY.  I opened the refrigerator to get my 2 year old his juice for breakfast, smelled onions, gagged, and BANG... a spasm started.  (I should explain that I am now 4 months pregnant with morning sickness.)  Somehow I made it upstairs, clapping my hands as hard as I could to get my husband's attention in the shower.  This episode was mild compared to the others.  I felt in control, no panic at all, and it passed within about two minutes.  Now my sister-in-law, who is a speech therapist at a local hospital, is coming over this afternoon to look me over.  Ironically she had just given a day long seminar about this issue a week before my first episode.  Her theory since the start has been silent acid reflux, which makes a lot of sense when you hear my story.  I have to say, reading these excerpts after not having an episode for two years has made me feel like I can deal without upset.  This may just be something I have to live with.  But in the grand scheme of things, it's better than what many others have to live with.   Thanks again everyone.  And I hope you stay well.
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Wow!  It is amazing to me that more Drs aren't up on this.  I have both laryngeal spasms and cricopharyngeal spasms.  I have mentioned this to every Dr. I see, including the ENT specifically seen thinking I'd get to the bottom of this and he was the least help of all!  Between my family Dr. and the internet I seem to have it under control.  For me Nexium and not getting over exerted or over heated seems to work the best.  Last one was 3 days ago while in a weight & cardio class right after finishing a kick boxing class and as soon as it came I put down the weights and walked out.  My worst one was while hiking up a mountain in the summer and once it started I probably had about 20 episodes (of the laryngeal spasm) that day.  Once it starts, speaking makes it worse.  One time (the first time) that is all I was doing, speaking, no exertion involved.  Once I had the first laryngeal spasm is when I became plagued with the cricopharyngeal spasm contantly, daily for 3 years.  Several of you mentioned the post nasal drip and one or two of you mentioned gerd.  Just so you know, post nasal drip is a symptom of silent acid reflux and it's called silent for a reason (there are no or very little stomach symptoms).  but the throat and ears are definately symptomatic.  Oh, by the way, I had been off the Nexium for about 3 weeks when I had the spasm the at the gym.  Previously I was totally cured, never had 1 spasm while taking the nexium and the crico spasm was 99% gone.  So, I may just have to shell out the $165 and refill the nexium.  Anyway, thanks to you all for posting, it sure helps me to not feel crazy to hear the others have a same or similar situation.  I wish you all well!
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i had 2 incidents while sleeping and i had to run outside to catch my breath. never felt that afraid. but it just happened 2 times in 6 mo. I also constantly have spasms while talking. have seen my primary doctor who ordered bloodwork and chest xrays referred me to a ent who did blood work and  an mri. also perscribed a muscle relaxant. He then referred me to a sleep therapist who diagnosed me sleep apnea. good luck sleeping with that apparatis on. now seeing a neurologist who did a cat scan and 4 blood tests.might recommed a specialist in philly,each doctor found something in their field that was wrong with me, that they could treat but couldn't say if it would cure my attacks while sleeping or the talking part. same old knocking under the hood.
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I have experienced this on a lighter level in my early 20's, during sleep, woken up vilently coughing trying to catch my breath, thinking it was some kind of anxiety attack. My troat never totally closed up, but I would struggle to get a grip on normal breathing.
In my mid 30's I began to  be woken up occassionally and my throat would close off more and I would experience the irritable itch that seemed to provoke the attack.
In 2010, around the end of January, I started having the airway closed off durning one of these attack, very frightening!  I had my worst, and first attack awake while I was eating a cracker, it seemed to provoke that irritating tickeling that comes on with one of these attacks; ended up running to the kitchen for water and waiting for my thoat to open and it wasn't. All I could think about is.......Really, God am I going to die here on the kitchen floor and have my family find me when they get home? Horrible thought to have.
I also had an attack in my car.  I just had all the windows down driving down the road letting all the pollen in, I guess, cause it was early spring and a nice day. I was dropping my daughter off and waiting for her to come out..........I put a piece of gum in my mouth, a little syliva that was started by the gum, was swallowed and provoked the tickeling into closing up my throat for about 20-30 seconds.  All I could do when people and my daughter started coming to my car, was to do a drinking motion with my hand for someone to get me water to drink in a very calm way, as they could see I was struggleing to breathe in any air.  It is very frightening for anyone having to deal with a person in this kind of condition; like wise, a person with this kind of condition communicating what kind of help they need while going threw an attack unable to speak or breathe.
After this attack that I had, I went to the drug store and bought some citrizine (allergy medicine).  I have tried to think of the times of the year that this seems to happen and it seems to only affect me January through April, or so.  I have never had an attack in the summer time that I can recall.  So, I am contrubuting my kind of attack as allergy related, cause as long as I keep on the 24hr citrizine.....I don't, or haven't, yet, to have an attack.  I will, at the end of April, stop the allergy medicine like last year, and see if all is good again.  At least I know now that I need to start the allergy medicine in January, instead of waiting for what ever allergen it is that provokes this frightening evil thoat tickel and breathe steeler to arrive and nudge me in a very physical way "It's time to start your allergy medicine".
After reading all your posts and others out there, there is one thing I can relate to the ones of you that have had the crazy attacks, that looking back on now and reading from some of your posts, which are pretty scarry, as my own are, but I can laugh just a little at myself now seeing how crazy these attacks make us with desperation to get through one of them with out hurting our selves and trying to get a relief of saving breathe.
I wish the doctors new more to help people like us that go through this terrifying ordeal.
I wish you all well and hope that yours too may be allergy related and you can find citrizine or some other antihistimine to help your situation.
Kindly,
Charissa
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This forum helped so much. I have spasms intermittently. They always relate to getting saliva too close to the breathing hole or breathing in at the same time as eating food with chilli or pepper in. WHAT WORKS FOR ME....If I feel the tickle coming on and the airwaves closing I down a glug of water,  the colder the better. - it must be water, juice can irritate. It seems to shock the larynx into relaxing again a lot more quickly than the dreadful wait where everyone thinks you are dying and you can`t tell them that you are (just!!!!) having a spasm. The colder the water the quicker the release in my experience, and on occasions I have reversed the closure before the symptoms have become bad. Try and keep water to hand. If you can`t get to the water just sit calmly and tell yourself it WILL pass. The more calm you remain the less agitated everyone will be. Don`t speak until you feel that your airways are completely clear. Hope that helps you out.
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To Airwave and others....in a way you are lucky to have a warning sign that an attack is coming on.
In my case, and others, there is no warning sign at all !
One moment all is well, the next, complete closure of the larynx and no breath available.
As I have said, Magnasium was the cure I found for myself. Both my doctor and specialist didn't have any idea how to help me.
Albert.
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i am glad to find this forum. I had my first spasm 20years ago and I had no idea what it was.  I was alone in a college dorm room and when i couldn't find help I sat down in the hall and assumed i was going to die. I saw spots then passed out. I have averaged one or two a month although at times I can go longer without one. It has happened so often that I have learned to recognize it right as it begins and i usually try to not inhale, but rather I try to cough. It doesn't seem to make it go away but it seems to decrease the severity of the atttack. it helps at times but other times not so much. It has happend when i was driving alone on the freeway, a scary time. Most recently I was having dinner with my wife, brother and and his 8 year old daughter. we were at a diner when it happend. i had no warning at all. Everyone thought I was choking on food and my brother wanted to do the hinlick(sp?) but i waved him off. My wife knew what was happening and just kept a close watch. People sittng around us observed in a paniced stuper as i waved my brother off. The one thing that has been said on this blog that i completely agree with is trying to stay calm. There is nothing else you can do. Each time it happens, I wonder if I will survive it. each time I have...so far. But each one is just as frightening. And oh yea, I have been to three ENT's, none have taken me seriously and none have given any advise.
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I have had about 6 total closures in the last 2 weeks. My wife has had 911 at the dial for 2 of them. I have been able to calm down and relax so it goes away but it affects my mental state for the rest of the day. I have found help in this forum as many have said because my ENT says if I take Prilosec for the next two weeks I will be fine. I have completed 1 week and it hasn't done a thing. Alberts comments have helped me start on Magnesium. Not sure where to to go here..........everytime I drink, I have a spasm!!! Very small sips will not close my airway. Very bad and no help from the ENT.
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This technique will help to control the spasms. Do the Ujjayi pranayam 3 to 9 times daily and note the benefit you experience. Come back to report your progress, so others may benefit. The effect is gradual and you will experience coughing initially.
Ujjayi pranayam
Procedure: While breathing in, tighten throat(contract glotis) and there will be sound from back of throat, then drop chin(rest chin on chest), hold breath as long as possible.Then  chin up, close right nostril and slowly breath out through left nostril.
Duration: 5 – 21 times

How to do Ujjayi
When you clear your throat, you tighten your throat and breath out, twice, with a pause in between. . Now if you reverse this, that is, tighten the throat and breath in continuously for abour 8 to 12 seconds, then hold your breath for 4 seconds with the chin down, then  chin up, close right nostril and slowly breath out through left nostril, you have just done Ujjayi pranayam.You will feel like coughing initially.
August 25, 2011
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Thats interesting about the relaxing. I have found if I tell myself, Relax, Relax, Relax, sometimes it works.  One thing that works for me, if my wife is around she breaths into my mouth for me. They are the worst things to have to go though but my ENT Dr. also said when you pass out you will automaticlly breathe. Well, if you google more about it, 80% of the you do start breathing again, its the 20% that worry me.  And everyones right the auxiety, I now have worrying when it will happen again is killing my mind. So, thanks to some of you for your advise. Will try anything, its been 8 years now, can tell you how many 911 call and trips to hospital.
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Hi everyone,  im 27 and had DVT and blood clots in my lungs at the beginning of the year and have been catching everything mostly colds since. Then 1 month ago i developed a terrible chest infection. After two weeks it wasnt getting any better. I went to my doctors and she put me on Amoxicillin (antibiotics) which seem to have cleared up the worst of the infection, however a week ago i had a coughing fit and my throat closed up, i was terrified i could not breath, gasping for air but mostly swallowing it, which then made me burp a lot. I finally did breath in and  i made the most awful noise, with tears rolling down my face and shaking i didnt know what just happened....since then this happen randomly 4-8 time every 24 hours, sometimes the gaging makes me sick everywhere so im not always keeping my food down. I'm exhausted from this and just dont know who to see. Last week i went back to my doctors and told her what was happening, she prescribed me salamol sulphate an asma inhaler, there is a large history of asthmatics in my family and i think it has helped with the soreness of my chest and i feel i can generally breath easier. However it has not stopped these episodes. So with most doctors being completely unhelpful i have come to my own conclusion!..... unfortunately i dont think there is a quick fix but im sure it is treatable :-) The majority of people with these symptoms have initially had a severe and prolonged irritation to the chest and/or throat which has cause this condition. So first of all we need to try to irradiate the underlining cause wether it be for example an infection, reflux, obstruction, once this is under control we can then work on re- training the muscles in the throat to not overreact so violently when we do need to cough, talk, or take a deep breath. If this is a muscle spasm then the neck and throat muscels need to rest as much as possible after all the trauma, then the mesages form the brain should return to normal. So i hope the following suggestions even if some are obvious will help relax the muscles and take down any inflammation. I've been trying them for 2 days and it seems to be helping...be sure to drink 8 glasses of water a day (without fail!!). luke warm  NOT TOO HOT as this can strip the throat of saliva, drinks with honey (if you can) to coat the throat, also chamomile tea is a natural anti-inflammatory, keep your neck and chest warm wear a scarf even if its not that cold. Use a warm water bottle on you neck/ throat a few times a day even if you feel it doesn't need it. Avoid fatty foods and definitely no smoking!!! to prevent reflux, also cut down dairy products as this can cause your body to produce even more mucus. As most people have said if this does happen to any of us again keep calm!!! As hard as this may seem just think about how your throat feels when it is nice and warm and relaxed (this should re-train your thought pattern)  as terrifying as this is i dont think it will kill anyone. Try not to talk too much for a few weeks (if possible) definitely don't shout unless it is completely necessary. Im going to try this for a week or two if it is still happening and i have no answers or cure from the doctors and find it defiantly isn't asma then my next step will be Hypnosis!!!!!! this has worked for me in the past when i had nerve damage which caused me a lot pain, this due to a car accident and the only thing the doctors gave me, which had terrible side effects was antidepressants oh and they didn't work! so i looked for alternative therapies and hypnosis was amazing, worked wonders! well good luck everyone hope we all get better soon,  and at least now i know im not alone :-)
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I have had these symptoms too: needle-like ***** on the throat, coughing that chokes and gives me a hard time breathing, waking up in the middle of the night coughing and gasping for air, hard time swallowing stuff coz it worsens the needle like feel. I belch out gas too. Tonight though, ive vomitted mucus, yeah like a handful of mucus ugh! Aftewards i had a hard time breathing for like 5 to ten minutes. But i feel much better now. Except i cant talk, my voice is lost. Havent seen a doc yet
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The doc told me I had laryngeal spasms...I cough so hard that I lose all functions and have a hard time trying to catch a breathe. It's like having a seizure. , I lose all control of everything , I pee, lose concouisness and start shaking , vocal cords close too. get very dizzy too when coming out of it.
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Follow the ujjayi breathing technique, described in my post of August 25, 2011  to help you control the laryngeal spasms.  Drink warm water, and avoid cold drinks. Take one teaspoon of turmeric powder with hot water, everyday.
November 2, 2011  
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Bout of bronchitis that later casued an asthma attack that landed me in the hospital for 3 days.  IV steroids and breathing treatments. Discharged on oral steroids and breathing treatments.  At home got sicker.  Episodes of choking, gagging and feeling of suffocating.  Waited a week before I saw a pulmonologist.  He said it wasn;t my asthma, but my vocal cords.  Needed to see ENT. Ended up back at the hospital where I was admitted and was there for 3 weeks.  More IV steroids, flovent 220 and breathing treatments. 5 epsisodes at the hospital.  Released and put on 20 days of oral steroinds, flovent and breathing treatments.  Still having choking episodes and inability to breathe.  Pulmo dr says that they are laryngeal spasms, ENT says it is GERD,  GI dr says no cause I just had an endoscopy and there is no evidence of GERD, plus I have been on Protnnix for years.  Rreading this posts are making me nervous since many of you have been lving with this for a long time.  This has been going on for 6 weeks now.  Help!!
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Just a quick note to say thanks for all the help / suggestions on laryngeal spasms. I had 5/6 serious ones and a couple of minor bouts over a 5-6 week period (very scary !!). Doctor prescribed a months course of medication for reflux, despite never having been aware of any gastric probs. 6 months hence...no more spasms  !
Best wishes to all sufferers
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This is an update (see my Sept 9, 2010 post above):

After two-and-a-half years since my spasms began, I believe I am now over it. As I said previously, my doctor attributed my condition to acid reflux even though tests showed I didn't have it; and he prescribed acid-control medication. The spasms nonetheless continued. Internal physical trauma I incurred from the inhalation of my own vomit and consequent violent reaction back in 2009, I am convinced, damaged my epiglottis; it wasn't doing its job of protecting the trachea and larynx.

I ceased eating chocolate (which triggered attacks) for this entire period of time and lightened up on spicy foods, also a trigger. I also have taken calcium-magnesium supplements daily. In the past few weeks, I've noticed that saliva no longer leaks into my larynx -- another trigger. Moreover, I can now eat chocolate and spicy foods without incident. My epiglottis evidently healed. Whether the magnesium supplements had any benefit, I cannot say. It could be that time simply healed the problem. Anyway, so far, so good.
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SIP ICE COLD WATER!!!!  I have had several Laryngeal spasm attacks always brought on while excercising and hard breathing. Acid reflux inflames the throat and larynx and then any number of things can trigger the spasm. Sipping water relaxes the airway and lets you breathe!
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hey everyone im male 28yrs old, i've been having these for a few weeks now and im also glad i found this forum. i had a couple of minor ones on the way to work then several more serious ones at home with my girlfriend. i cant help but run outside and try to relax, my girlfriend initially made a huge fuss which seemed to make me worse, now she gives me a minute and brings me some water, im fine after a few minutes... im convinced i have an issue with the valve that stops food going in my lungs as mine are triggered by a cough then a slight feeling of saliver or phlem in my wind pipe. im glad its not looking like a symptom of something nastier, i will be getting a check up soon though as we all should if we havent. from what ive read you will wake up if the worst happened, worse than that though it could be dangerous if you or i needed some surgery and had to go under, maybe we should all get a medical alert bracellet and let our gp put it on our medical records. i will start magnesium asap and come back for an update soon.
good luck all and try not too worry.
justin
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The first time I had a throat spasm was when eating a cracker. It was during breakfast on a congress with upper ten people.I was 35 and had to cough  to clean my windpipe; but I didn't dare doing so and hold my breath. How stupid: within seconds I could not inhale or make any sound at all.

Now I am 75 and since that breakfast I have had spasms many times a year, due to crackers, coughs, peanuts, cookies,sweets, sips of all kinds of fluids even saliva, and sometimes there is no trigger at all.I experienced it at home, in restaurants, in swimming pools, in the local bus, on the street, at airports, in clasrooms, on a boat, or when turning my head when swallowing something.
The effects are always the same: during a minuit -  sometimes more than that, sometimes less -  no inhaling  (exhaling is less poblematic) and lots of panic. A special occasion was while snorkling in the Red Sea. This time a little bit very salt water in the pipe did it.Reaching the surface I saw our boat a 75 meter away. Wihout breath and with no help I managed to climb on board.No one was aware of my distress for I coudln't make a sound.As always breath returned and so the colour on my cheeks.It takes about 20 minutes feeling normal again.
In all those years docters couldn't find any cause, not even specialists of the University Hospital in my town (Groningen, the Netherlands) . As a matter of fact one of them had throat spasms himself too.

The combination with coughing makes it worse; therefore I take one or two pills of codeine fosfat the moment the tickling starts.
During the outburst of a spasm I throw my head in the neck and stretch my arms to the ceiling (see: rescueing people from drowning) to widen the way for the airstream. So I did  this afternoon when breathproblems arose, but now  I went also outside in the freezing cold and that gave relief too. Remember the "head in the freezer to start breathing" trick in earlier suggestions.

Good luck everyone and relax (what can happen? see my age)

Ton Andringa



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Did you every get an answer as to why this was happening?  My daughter has similar symptoms every week and we're trying to figure this out.  Headaches (always), difficulty breathing, pinching in the throat, she gets warm when these 'episodes' come on, and often has stomachaches.  

She HAD H-pylori, she just had an endoscopy and they found an ulcer, but the GI explained her LES valve looked strong and stomach acid is not contributing to her 'asthma' attaches or headaches.

Any ideas?
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How did the ENT diagnose you?  Was it invasive?
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Do the ujjayi pranayam described in my August 25 ,2011 post. When you do this you will cough initially, as the throat clears. This will also help with thyroid problems.
February 22 ,2011
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I find what calms me down the most is to stand by the sink with the water running and catch a breath (albeit small) whenever I can.  Panic does happen.  I take a sip of cold water now and then until I calm down enough to breath again.  It does start out with a "tickle" way back in the throat and I know what is coming.  You never know when so there's no way to prepare yourself.  The Doc says not to worry if I pass out because that would relax all muscles and breathing would come back to normal.  Very difficult not to panic when you can't breath though!!!!
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I too stop breathing.. it happens to me at least 5 times a week. I had my thyroid out and do have Gerd/reflux. So I get it waking up to it and just drinking or swallowing saliva. It so frightens me. They have to open my esaphagus every 6 months as well. I learned while it is happening take a sip of water and blow your nose, you will get a good breath in and then it starts to subside. I am sorry of all who go through this it is quite scary, I think I am going to die. Tomorrow in the am I go to the hosp. for an Esophrgan and then I hear within a few weeks they plan on putting a camera up my nose into my stomach..that test is done awake and just thinking about it I am not sure if I will go through that one! Good Luck and again I am sorry to all... Denice
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Like many here on this board, I wake in the night with laryngospasms. These are the most terrifying experiences I've ever had, and I live in fear of it happening again. It has only happened four times, and I scheduled a doctor appointment immediately after the fourth.
I don't know how you poor souls who suffer from these frequently, and during waking hours, make it - just know that someone out there is thinking about you and knows exactly how you feel.
My doctor treated it (correctly, I believe) with GERD/reflux meds. I take Nexium and Zantac, and it seems to be working fine. Also, I have to severely limit  and be discerning about what I eat after 5pm each night (I go to bed around 11pm). I realized after the fourth time that I always had a spell with LS (what i'm calling it from here on out) after eating a particularly large meal, usually high in fat. For me, this means spicy Mexican food, which I love.
Nowadays, any rich, spicy foods I eat must be ingested at lunch. I stick to a healthy snack around 4:30pm each evening and that seems to keep things under control. Fortunately, I haven't had an attack in months - not since I've started the meds and changed my habits a bit. I'm often a tad hungry when I go to bed, but I'd rather be hungry than wake up unable to breathe.
(My advice to those suffering from LS infrequently like I was: make notes of what you ate the evening before an occurrence, and what time. If you see patterns, e.g. Mexican food, spicy food, high-fat food, large amounts of food, adjust your diet accordingly. It REALLY helped.)
So everything is okay now...why even post?
Because I'm about to have surgery (inpatient surgery, not related to my neck or throat), and I'm very frightened. I've been reading about the possible after-surgery (after anesthesia, specifically) occurrence of LS for people who have had it before. I'm absolutely terrified that it's going to happen as I'm waking up, in a weakened state, unable to breath. I know I'll be monitored, but those of you who have been through this know how truly awful it is, and how fast it starts and stops. I just don't see how they could help me in time.
In preparation, I'm following pre-op eating rules to the letter (liquid diet the day before, nothing by mouth after midnight), taking my reflux meds, and warning my doctor and anaesthesiologist about the possibility that it could happen. Surgery is next week, so in the next few days, I'm eating as light, non-spicy, low-fat as possible. Does anyone have any other ideas that might help give me peace of mind about this? I've never heard of anyone actually dying from waking up from surgery to "dry choke" to death, but then, I never heard of LS at all until it started happening to me.
Any advice would be welcome and appreciated.
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Hi, I suffer from severe laryngospasms, have been for about 7 yrs, and like everyone else here there have been few answers. I also have sleep apnea which requires a cpap machine, when I am in a bad spell of spasms my sleep apnea machine and spasm combination make me almost pass out, so I have to sleep at 90 degrees. I have silent gerd for which I take 40 mg omeprazole morn and night. I can spasm any where from once a day to so far the highest is 12 times in one day. I also had surgery - a cadaver bone put in my neck, which seems to be about when this started. My gerd is so severe though it has burned the flapper so the gerd slaps me right in the voice box. I cant count how many times I have almost passed out. The only help for me has been to breathe slowly through my nose and get to the coldest place possible. Last night was the worst yet - emergency room - they gave me IV ativan and toradol (severe headache with severe attack)  and this seemed to work. Now they want me taking ativan 3x day and klonopin 2x day?? Will try anything. My ENT says he isnt sure if the spasm would relax if I pass out, we have given the local rescue crew instructions if I call and am not able to speak to come armed with an epi pen, this will cause immediate relaxation of the respiratory system. I am definitely going to try Alberts supplements. As far as work goes everyone is aware of what I need to do and clear a path for me to get either outside or to a cooler to stick my head in, I work with the public so this can be embarrassing but my cohorts at work tell them I am an attention seeker and not to worry lol. I can say this seriously affects certain aspects of my life, very embarrassing and scares the crap out of me because each episode seems to get worse. When you get so close to passing out you can lose control of bodily functions, I have been there and it is very SCARY!
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I wake alot in the middle of the night with the "dry choke" and my doctor reassures me worse case scenario would be passing out then everything would relax and breathing would return to normal, but in the same breath he has told me to make sure if I pass out and rescue has to be called that they be told to try an epipen on me. Hopefully all goes well with your surgery and you probably know the more stressed you get about it the more likely you are to have an attack, put the faith in your medical team.
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My ENT said before tracheotomy an epipen would probably do the trick, apparently the epi causes immediate relaxation of the respiratory system. So far I haven't had to try this, and hope not to, but my attacks are now at 3 - 4 a day and very terrifying. Good luck to you.
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I have had this condition for 10 years. Had many tests: asthma, pulmonary, allergy, cat scan, neck ultrasound, chest xray, GERD testing..you name it, i had it. It started w/ coughing all the time. Most triggered by cold air, heat from a vent, smoke, perfume, flowers, grass, candles..anything really. Would cough so much that i would turn purple, stuff flying out of my nose, mouth, eyes, and my ears if they could..lol. Very embarassing in the work force and got in the habit of having water with me at all times, box of tissues and sit closest to the door for an emergency exit. Years later, found an allergist who actually listened. Explained that my symptoms have changed even more, now i cough and my throat closes up and i can't breathe. First time it happened i was ready to put an object in my throat just to get air in! Complete panic. He knew right off what this was..VCD. Sent me to a speech therapist. They did some testing and said i had VCD and Laryngospasms. She taught me how to breathe right, how to use my voice, reading with pause. Things you think you are doing right. This worked for a bit, until another attack...in front of my kids...horrifying for them to see. Googled and took matters in my own hands...now i am at U of Penn, who uses botox injections in the vocal cords. She felt i was a good candidate. I have had my 2nd treatment...you lose your voice for about a week and the procedure isn't that much fun but i can say, i haven't had an episode of my throat closing up in about 7 months! I do still cough at every little thing and continue to carry water and be called " the coughing lady", but this doctor feels after a couple more treatments i will be able to break the cycle and stop the cough. I am desperate , and willing to try. What do i have to lose...10 years of this has been very tiresome, depressing, and frustrating. I am going for it. The doctor explained that his happens due to a virus of some sort that attacks your body. In most cases, the immune system will heal you but in some cases it doesn't. It can cause damage to the nerves...coughing becomes a cycle...it needs to be broken and heal in order to train your vocal cords to do something different. I am praying this works....Hope this helps..and know you are not alone or crazy....this is not in your head...this is real and don't ever give up.
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Today in the car with my husband driving, coming The water shot to the back of my throat and I started choking.  Then I just could not breath at all and started hyperventalating.  I felt I could die and it was very scary.  I wanted to jump out of the car to get more fresh air but couldnt as we were in traffic.  However, we turned off the road and my husband encouraged me to try and not panic and within a few minutes I was ok.  This happened to me once before and my son helped me by calming me down and then getting me to breath slowly.  
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Such a blessing to find this forum of people going through the same thing.  I always pray to God to lead me and he never fails.  We all will overcome this.  And it comes with persistence and determination.  Looking back at the much earlier post,  I like the idea of magnesium complex supplement.  And will try it as I do know that at times I get the symptoms of mineral deficiency.   Being a Reg. Nurse I know it is a muscle relaxation.  Even in the ER it was prescribed for me via IV.  ujjayi breathing technique, acid reflux precautions sounds ideal as well.  This have to be attack from different angles and we all are individual.  May God bless you all.
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This sounds like Laryngeal Sensory Neuropathy.  My husband was suffering from this after a cough that ignored for 3 weeks.  With my research I found that getting an MD to prescribe elavil and gabapentin helped decrease the "hypersensitive" area in the larynx and allowed it to heal.  You should aggressively treat any "allergy" symptoms like post-nasal drip.  Look up an article by Dr. Stacey Halum in ENTTODAY.  Make a copy of this and ask your doctor to prescribe these meds.
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I too have had the exact thing happen to me. I too run outside and have to try to relax. I always run away from where there are people and wondered if I was going to be found dead. Very scary. My last one was 2 days ago (making dr apt) and it was the worst one yet. Then when it was over I had an immediate pounding in my head. Like my brain was pressing up against my skull. I'm still not quit right. I'm only 41 this happens about once a year maybe twice. Any answers out there? So glad to know I'm not the only one.
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This freezer thing does help or a fan full blast right in your face. I had my worst attack 3 evenings ago. When it was finally over, just before I thought I was going to die my head had such horrible shooting pain all over. It felt like my brain was pushing against my skull.
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That tickle that you speak of...I am helped and sometimes I can prevent the spasm from shutting of my air supply completely by sitting down and breathing very slowy and deeply, focusing on the out-breath and trying to relax before any panic sets in.
~Glenn
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I have had laryngeal spasms for many years.  The first was when I was about 4 years old and accidentally inhaled some sherbet.  Loads of things trigger them, a trickle of saliva (usually when I am sleeping) a coughing fit or nothing at all.  I do have reflux which is probably not helping.
The key is definitely relaxing.  Not easy as you will all know.  But, I am currently suffering from whooping cough and this is causing a lot of bouts.  I read on a blog, that someone's daughter has developed a way of coping with them by stopping breathing for a few seconds.  Not even trying to breath.  As mine are happening at present after a bout of coughing it isn't terribly easy but, it seems to work.  At the end of a bout I can feel that my throat is beginning to go and I just sit for a 4-5 seconds without even trying to breath just concentrating on trying to relax every bit I can from my throat down through my chest and then when all feels OK just breathing in very slowly and gently,  As with most of the people on here I have seen ent specialists who say there is nothing that can be done.  I was basically just told to get on with it.  I don't know if it any comfort but I had one one day at work which was on a hospital ward.  An emergency call was put out and the house doctor came running down the ward.  It had subsided by the time she got there but she said she would have given me intravenous vallium.  I was puzzled because I thought if I wasn't able to put all my effort into trying to breath that I would just suffocate.  But the vallium would relax the muscles which would stop the spasm.  Makes sense.  So I asked the question, what happens at home if I can't breath and was told that if it went on for long enough for me to pass out, then the sheer fact that I became unconscious would relax all the muscles and I would start breathing again.  Now I know it doesn't stop the fear, fright and panic at the time, but it is a little comforting to know that death from these is extremely rare because it will subside when someone passes out.  You do have to wonder, what the body thinks it is trying to achieve by such a reaction!
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I have them, too,and thought it was from a thyroid tumor, but still have them even after the tumor was removed. My ENT told me to try repeated swallowing during an attack, and it seems to work.
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There seems to be recurrent histories of various things in people who suffer from this.  Surgery, low calcium, oesophageal reflux and a couple of other things.  I think some of these cause it and once the vocal chords are 'sensitised' it almost seems to leave you with a permanent problem.  Have had so many bouts over the last few weeks that it is really exhausting me now.  Had a really bad bout today and no amount of relaxing (or trying to anyway) was stopping it.  Back to GP tomorrow.  See what the next thing is to try.  It has happened that many times, I hardly have any voice left!  
Has anyone ever tried a muscle relaxant like Buscopan?
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What scares me about the lary. spasm is that if it happens when you are eating how do you tell that you are not choking and it;s just a spasm?  I also have had something called an esophageal spasm and those are no picnic either.  The symptoms are exactly the same as a heart attack-- severe pain in the chest that radiates through the lower jaw.  Once it was diagnosed I asked the cardiologist (who said she has them, too) how you can tell if it is a heart attack or not and she said, "You can't"  Getting old *****!
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I am amazed at the lack of medical knowledge about this obviously not uncommon condition and at the lack of concern on the part of the medical community.  I think I have trouble getting my head round the fact that someone stopping breathing, is at any point not treated as a medical emergency.  How can that be?
I have decided to write a paper as a purely personal experience on my theories, thoughts and potential aids.  I hope it will be used both in the community as a whole and within the medical world, as there seems to be (to me) very little that has been done to explore the reasons for this.  I may come back with questions to help me research things if that is OK with you all.  Perhaps, we can stir enough enthusiasm and interest in the medical world to get someone to research further and maybe even find a cure!
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Go for it!  I think it is a great idea. I think there is a lack of concern because from what I can tell in the research that I have done "You can't die from it." Supposidly if you pass out, your voice box will relax and you will breathe again. But who wants to take that chance?!
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Amazing !!!  I also get this little like a pin ***** or a speck of chilly in my throat on the right hand side, and IF I try to clear it, which I must,     I THEN feel the tightening coming,   then comes the embarrassing choking for 8 Mins. you think you will die,    cant breath in or out,    then just before one passes out,    slowly you get AIR!  
WHAT THE HELL is it?  
My Doc. doent seem to understand how serious it is!

To make matters worse Iv just had my Thyroid removed, and the condition (choking) that Norm comes once a week, is coming every day!    Im in my 4th day of Thyroid removed,  and had it 2 times today!
dont think my heart can take much more!
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I am investigating the suggestion that the Pariet (for reflux) I am taking has a side effect of CHOKING,  I am hoping this is IT!   as I am TERRIFIED waiting for the next episode,
Im trying Nexium instead of the pariet, I also take Mag and Cal Tabs, for the bad leg cramp I get,  I also have a chest pain in my heart area. like Angina, but ALL medical check cannot find what it is,,,,wonder if its related to spasms?    
good luck to all and thanks for suggestions
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Ramel,
That may not be convenient
BUT  If one can get ICE or ICE water, a quick gargle does help me un swell the airway, so Keep small Ice cubes on hand in the freezer at all times,,
but a solution for "out side" is still hard,
I got an attack on a four lane expressway, and almost totaled my car getting to the side,trhough 3 lanes of cars,
.           good luck and great advise and reading
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i've had this same thing for many years...it started about the time i had my daughter...just a few months after, and that was 23 years ago. I've had the problem with waking up at night and having the laryngospasms off and on since then, and recently now have them during the day. they are very scary, my whole life flashes before my eyes, i think there is no way i'm going to live through this one, and then about a minute later, it starts to subside...checked my heart rate after the one i had today and it was 160!! has anyone else checked their heart rate right after an attack? i have an appt with an ENT next friday, but think i will call my gp on monday to get things started, going to try the calcium and magnesium also
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I have found that getting on all fours the curving my back and/or extending my stomach and diaphragm helps calm down the spasms! I know it's not something you want to do all of the time in public, but maybe you can excuse yourself to somewhere private if you feel one coming on!! I hope this helps !
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I have always been sensitive to medication side effects. I tend to stay away from both traditional and alternative medications but during a bad allergy season a good friend convinced me to try Echinacea. After three days I developed  laryngeal spasms. I stopped the supplement and the spasms stopped. It took 48 hours for the spasms to go away completely. This is just one anecdotal incident and I can not prove a causal connection between the supplement and the spasms, but I have never repeated taking the drug and have never experienced the spasms again.
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It's a relief to know that what I've been experiencing has a name and that others have it and are finding ways to manage it or at deal with it. And it's especially encouraging to hear that most likely if I were to pass out, I would recuperate and not just die.

I have had some asthma issues over the years, but only occassionally. I almost choked on a piece of meat about 6 or 7 years ago, and ever since then I have felt something different in my throat. My throat gets irritated more easily and now I've started having these spasms and not being able to breathe. I also have an underactive thyroid. I've read mention of one or all of these in the postings above, so there must be a connection.

I've had only 4 or 5 episodes, but that were so, so scary. All except the last one have been at home. The last time I was walking on a hike and bike trail, stopped to drink from a water fountain, and then couldn't breathe. I scared the hell out of a young couple with a baby nearby. Luckily the woman's husband came over. I had tried relaxing but it was working. I reached out and held his hand and that finally helped me calm down enough to catch a breath. So there is something to having caring human contact during an episode.

My greatest concern is any of us having an episode while driving, especially those of you who transport children or someone else. We could not only hurt ourselves, but others.

Thanks for sharing and for 'listening'. I don't feel so alone in this now.

Wishing everyone the best of HEALTH!
Elena
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I posted updates here for the past two years. Here's the Latest:

I got my annual physical yesterday. I told my doctor about my recovery from laryngeal spasms since I started taking a daily dose of magnesium supplement  a year ago. He, of course, dismissed this, insisting again that my problem was due to GERD even though a barium test showed I had no GERD. I just listened quietly and then repeated what I'd told him previously -- that I clearly had damaged my epiglottis during a severe choking episode in 2009. BTW, I'm leaving this doctor for another soon.

All I know is this: I started taking magnesium supplements after reading about it in this forum and elsewhere. Over the months, my spasms lessened and finally stopped entirely. I still do occasionally feel saliva or liquid irritating my epiglottal area, but it's very minor. I now eat all the things I previously avoided, e.g., chocolate, spicy foods. I continue to take a daily dose of magnesium and will likely never stop doing so. Whether my recovery is due to the supplements or just naturally over time, I do not know. But the coincidence of the magnesium intake and my recovering from LS is just too convincing.
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As of July 25th, when I was hospitalized for an unrelated event, I have had several spams where suddenly my throat becomes dry, a tickle occurs, I begin to cough and I cannot inhale. The first time, I thought I was going to die. I even thought of doing an emergency trach on my self (I am an RN and while that is not in my scope of practice, I know enough to do one and was not going to die from not being able to breathe if I could help it).  The worst, a week ago, came on after an extreme coughing spell where I actually vomited and then could not inhale. I thought I would pass out and instinctively ran outside where just before I passed out, I sensed a very gradual relaxaton of the larynx and eventualy was able to breath. In going to the doctor, I was told it was bronchospams, given an antibiotic and tessalon pearls to help prevent the urge to cough.  I have been to the doctor and the ED 4 times in the last 3 weeks. They do not seem to hear what I am saying about the symptoms and the onset feeling in the back of my throat. ( a good reminder for me as a professional ). I now have an inhaler, prilosec and another antibiotic. I feel there is some prevention of the severe episodes but also feel the sensation of spasm is always lurking with each breath, cough or clearing of my throat. My vocal cords have been affected as my voice is very raspy and speaking at length is not possible. I am waiting to complete the duration of the antibiotic and the prilosec to see the outcome of these treatments. As a nurse, I knew my symptoms were not that of bronchospam but laryngospasm. As a person, I began to doubt myself. Reading these comments from 2009, I now know I am right. I am printing them to take to my doctor. I am a quality assurance director at a local hospital. The reason I think there is no study or investigation of a treatment pathway is because there is no quantative collection of data ( that I know of ) that exposes the number of people affected, the various potentail causes and the effects of the symptoms on people's lives and livelihood. This blog certainly demonstrates a need. How many others suffer from this that we do not know about? I am so grateful to find this site and am thinking about how we can make our case for a serious study. Perhaps if we share our comments with a reputable ENT medical study group, they would be interested in pursuing it.
For now, I am waiting for my initial outcome to see if this is temporary or chronic for me, but will continue to join the site.
  By the way, I am taking a teaspoon of honey every four hours during the day and a tablesoon before bed ( do not drink right after)  and as needed, which has naturally helped to moisten and calm the throat tickle/pricle sensation. It also has some antibiotic properties. ( Diabetics would probably not want to try this approach wothout MD input) . The other suggstions I am going to try one at a time to see if any work for me. Everyone's body and response can be different so right now it is up to each of us to keep track of our personal successes and share them with each other. Grass roots efforts are my favorite way to initially deal with a problem, as is prayer and centering oneself. Thank you all so very much.
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So glad to hear our forum has helped you, as it has me.

One caution with your plan - honey is fantastic (I have it daily in my morning smoothie) but it can lead to tooth decay, especially if taken right before bed and it lingers around your teeth while you sleep. Maybe brush your teeth after taking honey, keep it off your teeth somehow, or use a fluoride mouth rinse. I am fearful of having dental work because my spasms are fairly rare right now but one can strike unexpectantly at any time, and I would hate to have one in the middle of a filling appointment.

More study would be fantastic, even to help spread information to others.
Good luck to you from a fellow "sufferer".
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My first spasm occurred on July 7 Th 2012.  Since then I've had 4 full fledged episodes and every night I wake with something that feels like something's coming on. With Each of the major bouts I took a trip to the emergency room where I asked and received O2 .  I found that dispute Drs telling me O2 really doesn't do anything for me , it seems to get me over the edge.  All of my episodes ( every night) come to me in the night , so I find that I can treat them with some benedral and a decongestant tablet before I sleep. For the most part , this cocktail seems to work well.  When I'm driving and feel some tightness in my upper chestv, I turn on the AC and direct the air flow to my face.  This too helps lessen the symptoms.  I'm interested in trying the magnesium therapy I read about.  Good luck to all of you.  I'll keep you up to date .  
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ALL, Oh my gosh, I am SO relieved to have found this thread!  I post regularly in a couple other forums unrelated to respiratory stuff, but I've had two of these laryngeal spasms, and so I decided I'd try to find a place in here that would explain what was going on, and I wound up at this thread.

Just a few minutes ago, I had a spasm.  Since I had had one once before, I knew what it was, altho I still didn't know what to call it or what to do about it.  That's why I came here right afterwards.  Anyhow, it really came out of NOWHERE and I didn't have any advanced sign of it.  I suddenly just start coughing, and I thought my throat SWELLS, to where I cannot breathe in or out!  Absolutely terrifying!  So, I kept trying to breathe in, there's a huge wheeze sound, and no air goes in!  Tears rolling down my cheeks, and I'm feeling a big tingling sensation throughout my body, legs and arms.  I almost woke up my husband, thinking I might pass out, but then I got control of it by trying very hard to relax.  I also drank some drink I had handy, really was working to get that to my mouth, the dog came in and was worried.  Finally I got a good breath.

I coughed and coughed for a while, blew my nose, and decided to pour some milk and stand outside on the back deck to breathe in some fresh air, lots of humidity out there, and then I really felt I was going to be okay.  I was thinking we had just bought filters for the A/C, and that since we hadn't changed them in so very long, that that was what was causing these two spasms I've had, I guess within a month of each other.  We still haven't changed the filters, but will tomorrow.

I am SO glad to read of various remedies, and Magnesium will be on my list to get tomorrow while I'm out.  I really liked the freezer idea, to put my head in there, since immediate relief is imperative.  For me, I think mine is caused because I had cancer last year (breast), and when my hair fell out from chemo, so did the hairs in my nose, but I don't think they quite grew back or something, but my Dad also had cancer, and ever since then, both of us have VERY runny noses.  In addition, my throat has been dry and wheezy for many years, probably the dryness is from the meds I have to take because of a back injury, and the wheeze, NOBODY knows what the heck that is, I've had it for more than ten years.  But when one of these takes over, that wheeze sounds like a freight train.

I can't help but think there's a little cloggy place where the air and food tubes are, and perhaps when post nasal drip piles up, it just explodes, and this causes my throat to swell up, which I now see is actually a spasm that is tightening the throat, from reading here.  Sorry I wrote so much.  I just wanted to describe in detail my situation, as others have, so people like me who also want to know what the heck just happened, that I felt almost killed me, can find some relevance and relief in our stories.  GG
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Hi. I've found that when I have a spasm, and I can't breath in, if I just try to stay calm and breath out a little bit, I'm then able to take a small breath in.  I repeat this again and again until I have better control of my "in" breaths.  Good Luck to you
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In addition to Tomb333; when you have a spasm bend your head backwards and stretch you arms above the head. Try to inhale only through the nose.
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I am also, like so many others, so happy to have found this forum.  I have laryngeal spasms also.  For years I didn't know what was happening to me in the middle of the night.  I just thought it was my bad sinus problems and it was mucous in my throat.  Last month, August 2012 I started with what I thought was a sinus infection.  Went to the doc, was put on antibiotics .  I also took  advil cold and sinus and other sinus related things.  I started having these attacks again when I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. How horrifying !  I felt like the mucous in my throat was covering my air way.  I went back to the doc.  They put me on the medi pack of presidone. ( excuse my spelling)  Nothing worked.  I had another attack of not breathing .  This time my husband insisted we go to the ER .  By the time I got there, of course the breathing was fine and they didn't know what t do with me.    I went to the doc again and this time it happened in the docs office!  Now they finally understood what I was talking about.  This lasted 20 minutes, and I thought for sure I was going to die. They called 911 and I went back to the ER .  Again when I got there they said everything was fine and sent me home with asthma inhalers.   I went to and ENT doc yesterday and he told me , after his examination that he thinks it is Laryngeal spasm and laryngoharyngeal reflux.  I am now taking 80mg of nexium a day.  He told me to come back in 2 weeks,  I am praying to God this works.  This is just awful and i feel helpless.  I am going to use everyones ideas.  I read all the comments from the beginning of this forum.   Thank you to everyone.  
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I've just (a few moments ago) had a trachea spasm; I've had them before (really scary, especially when it wakes you up from a deep sleep). I think it happens spontaneously, and is precipitated by swallowing liquid - even spittle - at the very moment of an inhalation. As has been said, the trick is to not panic, and that ain't easy!
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Does anyone know if there is an organization for laryngospasms?  I have been searching and can't seem to find any. Please let me know if you know of anything, Thank you all so much, Jane
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Thats a great idea. If there isn´t a organization, we should strive to make one.

I had these laringospasms 16 years ago with because i was coughing for 1 month.
Went to 3 doctors to no avail, until my alergologist said i should have "mycoplasma" bacteria in my throath and that was causing the cough.
It didnt make me any fever, well it didnt gave me anithing but an extremely sore throath and constant cough.
The cough was the trigger for laryngospasm, and the "mycoplasma" infection, the cause of the cough.
So he told me to take an specific antibiotic to kill mycoplasma bacteria for 7 days , and that killed that bacteria, and some week slater i was ok again.

There are various causes to this problem, but the biggest problem is that this is misunderstood and poorly taken in to account by doctors. This lets people sick for months.

And there isnt a standartized battery of diagnoses to clearly identify the triggers of this condition in each one of us.

Maybe we could somehow create a simple data base of our simptoms, triggers, diagnostics exams, and probable cures so we could better understand wath causes this.
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I share the same ideia , i live in Portugal, had laringspams some years ago, and the most of the medics just didnt care.

You cant die from it, just hold on and relax. They said...

However, sometimes they are caused from damage to the body.

In my case i had lasting sore throath and cough for a month without
any other simptoms, and later that month i started having larigospasms at night, i just woke up in the middle of the night with cough and started  a laringospasm.

Only after seeing 4 doctors, the last one, alergologist, said i should have "mycoplasma bacteria" on my throath and voice box, that particular bacteria doesnt cause fever. He said for me to take an special anti-biotic to kill that bacteria, after 7 days i was much better, 2 weeks later the cough was gone and so were the laringospasm.

There are many triggers to this condition, and there are somethings that enable the triggers to react. If we can find the source and cure it, it should go away.

Nowadays i can cough normally and i dont get a laringospasm.
It was the bacteria "mycoplasma" combined with persistent cough that damaged the larinx and allowed for it to laringospasm.

Another thing that did helped me a bit was a medicine named ATARAX, its an anti-histaminic with some properties that help relax a bit the airways.
It did helped me a bit while i was curing the infection.
So if any of you is interested in this i recomend you ask you doctor for opinion, it did helped me a bit. But im unsure if will help everyone.

I completely agree with you. There should be an investigation on this.
I also had asthma as a kid, and i must say, this laringospams even freaked me more than having an asthma atack.

As the search for a cure, im sure there are different cures for different roots of the laringospasm.

In my humble opinion i think the investigation should focus on searching common triggers, and clear diagnosis that can pinpoint wath is the specific trigger that causes this simptoms.

For some it may be a "hidden" bacterial infection like mycoplasma , for others it may be silent reflux, for others yet maybe allergies or damage made to the vice box.

I hope you can make something useful from this long post.

Good luck with investigation
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Avatar_m_tn
In my case they also said it was broncospasm because i had asthma.
But yes , as you, it was defenitly laringospasm.
Doctor most of the times dont even know wath a laringospasm is by my experience.

Mine was caused by an infection of "mycoplasma" in my throath that causes 1 mont of constant cough and sore throath, that in the end of the month the cough ingnited the laringospasm.

With the right antibiotic to kill that bacteria in 7 days, cough stoped and 2 weeks later no more laringospasm.

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I just had one of these spasms for the first time moments ago at work.  I started coming down with a cold last night.  I began coughing this morning and while coughing at work I suddenly had a coughing "fit" where I couldn't stop and all of a sudden it felt like my throat was closing up!  I told my friend that something was wrong and I couldn't breathe.  I never felt so panic stricken.  It passed after what felt like an eternity but was probably only about 20 seconds.  Now, I'm so anxious it will happen again.
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My first spasm occurred in 1995 after we had just moved to an area with a humid climate.  My family was terrified, and I thought I was going to die.  After several episodes over the next few months, I saw an ENT specialist. who put the tube down my throat and, on finding nothing, told me that the worst that could happen would be that I would pass out and then start breathing again. No help there!   Over the years, I have had these spasms occasionally, especially when just getting over a cold.  When I feel the tickle, I found that drinking ice-water helps, and I try to keep it close at all times.  I am a teacher and my students often bring me my water when I start to cough.  I keep water on my bed-stand, and if I wake up to a severe spasm (I've learned to identify those), I get up with my water and walk around the house until I've gained control.  BUT, each time is scary and I dread the next one.  I am so glad to have found this forum!!  Thanks for all the suggestions, and I am on my way to pick up some magnesium.
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sorry for the duplicate
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same problems and lose my voice after having an asthma attack or getting sick. My pulmonologists suggested I see an ENT. The ENT did a scope of my throat while I smelled different irritants (potpourri, bleach, etc.) and discovered that my vocal chords close. Its called Vocal Chord Dysfuntion. Whenever I am exposed to an irritant my vocal chords come together cutting off my airway. This leads to the breathing difficulty. I attended Vocal Chord therapy where they teach you how to breath in order to keep your vocal chords open. It helped tremendously!!! You take one deep breath in through the noise and blow out quickly three times. This forces the chords to blow open. Its called rescue breathing. I am also supposed to take Asmanex daily because it cuts down on the inflammation in my esophagus. I would suggest seeing an ENT and asking about having this test done adn attending the therapy. If your ENT has never heard of any of this then find another one because thay obviously do not know what they are doing...

Hope this helps! :)
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Try a 9 mm if it does not subside. I have Premature ventricular contractions , ventricular tachacardias, and now I have these larynix spasms. I don't get excited when I am awake because I can breath a little and they don't last long. The Dr is checking my magnisium for the PVC's But he isnt concerned with the spasms. I thought about chocking him a little so he might understand what it feels like. But I may need him for a trach. It is scary but my wife has had them for years and nothing bothers her it seems. She says you must be ready to meet God. I tell her, I'm in no hurry. I am over 50 and have hot flashes to. As a man I didn't think that would be a problem. My wife says God is getting me use to the heat. I don't tell her any of my problems now. All jokes aside, lif can be scary when these things happen to us.
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Avatar_m_tn
One of the worst things is when one feels that coughing will start a spasm. Ask your docter for Codeïne Fosfaat. One tablet is enough to deminish the tickle and to relax the thoat. It stops even heavy coughing, very quickly.
Ice water is also a good idea ; I combine with taking Codeïne.

During a spam it will help to bend your head backwards and stretch your arms upwards. ( and try ONLY to inhail  via  the nose). Polly's Vocal Chord Therapy seems to me a useful suggestion.
  
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Sorry
Correction
During a spasm it will help to bend your head backwards and stretch your arms upwards. ( and try ONLY to inhail  via  the nose). Scorpio's Vocal Chord Therapy seems to me a useful suggestion.
  
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Great to discover this site and for all the comments and suggestions.
I'm very rarely ill but one week before Christmas I got a chest infection which is now in its fourth week. On Christmas night I too had my first attack and since then I have had one or two a night for a few nights and then a break of a couple of nights when I think that all has settled down. Last one was 3 nights ago and my cough is getting better so it was a shock just now to have another spasm. Now I dread going back to bed so I'm sitting up reading everyone's comments and suggestions knowing that I'm not the only one who suffers from these spasms,. (which is a great comfort) As said by everyone here the doctors say there is no remedy for this which is not much help. Thank you all.
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Great to discover this site and for all the comments and suggestions.
I'm very rarely ill but one week before Christmas I got a chest infection which is now in its fourth week. On Christmas night I too had my first attack and since then I have had one or two a night for a few nights and then a break of a couple of nights when I think that all has settled down. Last one was 3 nights ago and my cough is getting better so it was a shock just now to have another spasm. Now I dread going back to bed so I'm sitting up reading everyone's comments and suggestions knowing that I'm not the only one who suffers from these spasms,. (which is a great comfort) As said by everyone here the doctors say there is no remedy for this which is not much help. Thank you all.
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BLUES LADY
I'm a professional singer and the last week of this November right after singing a song with long sustain notes I experiened mt first larygeal spasm out of the blue and then kept experiencing them  several times after that.  On the first evening, when I got home, I found that different foods were very irritating and was having a very diificult time swallowing.
Since then I have been to my ENT several times and he has put me on Prilosec, Clariton, and just this last week Neuronon also known asGabapentin.
I've also been going to a speech and swallowing specialist.
I've lost 15 pounds in less than a month for I have been unable to swallow most foods and have been living off homemade soup with chicken and veggies because I need a lot of liquid to get foo down.  Up until a little over a week ago, I had a very tough time drinking water, but for me, I found that by drinking through a straw that I can get more water down.  
It's very hard trying to take the meds I need when swalowing becomes the issue.. I've been taking calsim and magnisum fo 20 years now, but couldn't get them down the first 3 weeks.
Yes, it is very scarey when I feel my throat close up on me and now I hate being without mt husband here, however, when I'm around other IT seen to cause more spasms.
We've tried ti figure out the triggers but it just seems to change from day to day.  I've always been senitive to car fmes but now, it's very dangerous.
My speech and swallowing therapist says it's because my larynics is over sensitized from acid reflux and that the larygenial nerve that runs frim thr sphinter muscle in the diapham/stomach area is inflammed.  This nerve runs all the way up to the throat.  SHe works wth singers and said that thus is common among singers and not to eat for 2 hours before singing and for at least 3 hours before laying down.

The other things that I have experienced with these Larengial spasms it the uppersoft palate moving ad clicking quite a bit and mt tongue position affecting my swallowing.  The sensation of my epglottus sticking in theup position can be very alarming.  And yes, it is very difficult to stay calm, but I try my best.  By the way, I was also told by my  speech therapist that prolonged stress can bring this condition on via silent reflux and now research is showing a connection between slent reflux and sleep apnea which I've had for a few years now  and as such, sleep at at a 60 degree angle.
I hope that this info has been hehpful to some you.  I 'm hoping and praing that this latest medication, Neurontin, will get me up and running again.  I'ts now January and I haven't been able to sing, and can bearly talk for any lenght of time, since November and very anxious as to weather  I'll ever be able to fearlessly resume my singing career.
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Laryngeal spasm is the sudden and abrupt closing of the vocal cords, breathing is impaired because the air is drawn through the mouth, nose, throat then larynx[vocal cords and gateway to] the trachea and into the bronchial airways, irritation to the vocal cords will initiate a spasm resulting in total or partial obstruction of the airway as the two cords come together usually with inhalation, the victim struggles to draw air in through what is a blocked airway there may be violent bouts of coughing before hand, frightening though it is, it seldom lasts long before the spasm passes, by virtue of elimination IE discovery of what one was doing, eating, enviorment ect one can sometimes control the frequency even though not the severity of the attacks. During an attack try to restict your breathing, swallowing helps[ you cannot breath and swallow at the same time] restrict moving about [encourages further breaths] when you do breath try it slowly through the nose [ filters and warms] you should then be able to start breathing through the mouth again. If the spasms occur at night learn to sleep with the head slightly raised [two / three pillows] and or on the side. It is not an allergic reaction but may be triggered by someone suffering from one such episode or anaphalactic shock, neither is it sleep apnoea.
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So glad I found this site. I've suffered from laryngeal spasms for about fifteen years - I think it started after bad laryngitis, which left a "sensitive spot" on the left side of my throat. More or less anything that touches this spot can cause a spasm, but it's much worse if I am recovering from a cold or sore throat.

However, I have found some things that can help a little. I'd like to share them with those who are desperate or afraid.

I put spasms into two categories that I call major and minor. A major spasm usually happens at night while I am asleep. I wake up making terrible noises etc., you know the scene. They can last up to five minutes but it feels much longer. The only thing that helps is to sit straight up with my head held as far back as it will go, also pushing my chin forward. This stretches the airway open a little. At the same time I sip cold water. And pray. So does my wife.

For a minor spasm, the sort that happens when you are eating and something happens to touch the sensitive spot, the trick is actually to stop breathing for a while, even though your body is screaming to take a breath, while holding your head well back as before. Try to empty your mouth in a way that doesn't offend the company... Then take the smallest possible breaths, so that you don't produce any noise, gradually increasing the amount each time until you seem to be breathing something approaching normally and can relax a little. This doesn't work every time but it can sometimes stop a spasm from developing. I have actually been able to hide a spasm in company this way, though of course I've never fooled my wife...
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Avatar_m_tn
My solution during a spasm: Holding back the head as far as possible indeed, but in  combination with stretching both arms 'hands up' to the ceiling.
If it is cold outside, go outside. The cold air works positively on the airways.
When you might think it will occur during the sleep because you cough frequently, take a paracetamol beforehand. (it calms down)
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Avatar_m_tn
I recently had 2 of these terrifying experiences, both at 2am...out of a sound sleep. I suffer from terrible asthma so I assumed they were severe attacks. Luckily I have a home nebulizer so I used that to help with the attacks. These spasms lasted a lot longer than a minute or two...more like 20 minutes! ( I assume the spasm also triggered an asthma attack though.) I had never heard of this condition but when I saw my pulmonologist , this is what he diagnosed. I am terrified to go to sleep. They were worse than any asthma attack I've had in 30 years. I believe the Magnesium will work as I have taken it for other muscle spasms...I will start that again ASAP.
I'm grateful for the information given here. Thanks to all that offered their wisdom!
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My wife is 53 and almost a year ago, she choked on a peice of steak, and turned blue for about two to three minutes.  Luckily I was there, (we were having a cookout in the backyard), and my neighboors were both outside.  I yelled for help and within a minute, i could hear the ambulance comming.  I did the heimlick manuver and just as the ambulance got there, she coughed up the peice of meat.  After that episode, she seemed ok, but a couple of months later, she started getting the lyrengial spasams about once a week.  As those of you who have this, its a terrifying thing to go thru and to witness.  I try and hold her upright, and hold her head up, talking to her telling her to stay calm and try and breath.  This usually happens just after dinner, and some two to three times a week.   We will try the vitamins and repost with the results,(dont see how it could hurt anything).  If anyone has any other remedys or advise, please post them.  Thanks   Ron
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Avatar_m_tn
After stopping smoking, I developed a cough that lasted for 5-6 weeks. Went to DR and got steroids and cough meds and antibiotic. Then started having spasms at night. Went to ENT, he scheduled esphoagram, I take it next Monday. It is really unnerving to not be able to breathe...mine mostly occur at night or early in am after I get out of bed. I hope there is a cure for this...I am reading all the comments in this forum now. Good luck to everyone.
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I have been suffering with this for quite some time with the last two years being the worst.  When it first started I wondered, "Am I choking on food to cause this reaction, or is the reaction making me choke on food?"  I have been treated for GERD, Asthma and LPR and still I struggle.  Like most of you I have found this site after a scary episode.  I am going to try the magnesium.  I would like to share something I found that has helped me and has not been mentioned in the previous posts.  Blues Singer and teachers listen up!  I talk for a living and have had voice issues along with the spasms.  I have done a lot of my own research trying to heal myself as the GI, ENT and Pulmonary physician's advise only helps a little.  Three things that have helped me are:1 humming to warm up your vocal cords first thing in the morning.  I read this is how Frank Sinatra always warmed up.  Also after heavy voice use hum to cool down, just like a runner has to cool down to keep blood from pooling to prevent cramps.2 Throat Coat Tea is very helpful to the throat and voice.  I add raw honey to mine.  You can drink it hot or cold.  It is very soothing and you will notice when you are sick or using your voice a lot it helps.  You can find it in the tea section of most grocery stores.  I have found it at Target and Walmart too 3 Talk to your physician about Sinus Rinsing to see if it may be helpful for you.  I was not excited to try this, but it wasn't bad and has reduced some of my coughing.  Good luck to all and I will revisit this site to keep learning from all of you too!
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The recovery position for this is to extend the neck backwards as much as poss, looking up to ceiling, or tilt back as far as poss, do not breath in fast but slow, faster breathing closes the muscles tighter blocking the airways further. Extend neck back and slow breath through nose, extending neck back prevents the vocal cords from clamping closed, it stretches them out, also breathing through nose also stretches them and prevents further spasms. Sleep with head elevated from stomach to prevent acids causing attacks at night, and find a way to have your neck in the stretched recovery position should prevent night time episodes. Well it worked for me since I was recommend on another forum! Good luck . If you have a cough, get doc to give a good medicine to stop the coughing, in my case this also triggers an attack, so avoiding coughing is important. If I need to cough now, i extend neck back to cough and breath in through mouth, which leasers the clamping closed.. Also get a good stomach acid tablet to lesson acid in stomach which causes these attacks also.there is another great website here: http://voicedoctor.net/therapy/laryngospasm#causes
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Also my instinct is to wrap up glands as mine I feel is related to a complication to a flue virus this left me with bad cough. So I wear a lovely 100% Pashmina scarf loosely round neck to keep all glands warm and in day, or if going out also, plus at night as cold air affects the current sensitivity in larynx, I also have a bed hat with ear flaps, keeps the whole area nicely warm , wrapped up and protected at night. When I had the first episode it was so frightening as i awoke at 5 am unable to breath at all, I was not sure if I was going to die or not. after panicking and getting very hot, i went to bathroom, splashed cold water on face to cool down, and sat on the loo seat with my knees pulled up , which flexes your back and makes you hold your chest very upright, which helped me, or I believe standing as straight as poss, if you cannot do this.
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ps a friend was recommending also coka cola good for cough, which I had been craving before she told me! (although stay away from it in normal circumstances!)
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Swallow as hard as you can.  That works.  A respiratory therapist told me to do that.
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I am writing this after a middle of the night ambulance ride to the ER for a horrifying laryngospasm.  The ER doc acted like I was crazy to be there because of course by the time of my arrival the event was over except for my rapid heart rate and sky high blood pressure.  The bad thing is that I am an employee of the hospital I am lying in and it really upset me to be asked "what do you want me to do for you?". So glad to find this site as only those who have experienced this stressful situation can really understand it. Will be trying all the suggestions I've seen here as I have suffered from them for decades and like the rest of my fellow sufferers live in fear of the next terrifying episode.
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I am so glad to have found this site- having experienced several of these suddenly not able to breath issues-  I was explaining what has happened to me (most recently a week ago while sleeping in fact) to my doc and he told me what it was called- first time I had ever heard of it-  he is sending me to an Ear,Nose& Throat doc just to have a scope-camera verify nothing is going on in my throat- as a backup- but as far as what to do when you suddenly can't breath- (fortunately has not happened to me while driving) he had no idea- said that eventually your body will allow you to breath- not very comforting of course- even though I understand what he is saying to me... I had hoped there was a magic throat spray to carry with me, etc., but he explained how the throat closes up temporarily- my fear I guess is if I had this happen without having a full breath of air in my lungs (such as exhaling and then diving underwater- you'd be in trouble very soon)  I might black out or even die-  so this site is awesome- and I already got the supplements from the health food store- will definitely try the cold air/head in the freezer idea next time this happens-  but man, the stress of going to sleep now wondering if it will happen again- and if I will wake up in time to try and force air to come in and out- it's extremely stressful not knowing when it might happen again. Once more- thanks to everyone for these post- there is more for me to learn here than I got from visiting the doc (even though he was fairly well versed on this subject) as no suggestions regarding supplements, etc., were made to me ....
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Hello :)
I just ran across this thread after searching for what the cause of my elderly father is having symptoms of & I believe this is what he is suffering from. He just had his AICD put in last week so he will be able to do his procedure for the scope to see what's going on with him but this is just one of the several things he has to deal with but it's reassuring that I think that I have found out what he's dealing with probably, as to where the doctors aren't sure. My father is 74 & has a really bad heart with only one artery left & a valve that is leaking but with these attacks he's having it takes a lot out of him. Not only is he suffering from these spasm attacks where we have to sit him up & blow air into his mouth on the difficult episodes he's lost 33lbs in two months & no appetite so you can just imagine there is no way we are able to let him try & catch his own breath because he panics which is hard for him not too with everything else & plus his age factor that is so scary to him. He might lose unconsciousness I have read then the larnyx will relax as posted in some of the threads on here but not so sure about him & all the factors. I just want to know if anyone has anyone to help them when attacks occur to sit them, hit their backs & blow air into their mouth because he can't close his during the hard attacks it's like a fish out of water gaping etc. Thanks :)
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I agree with all of you that the larangeal spasm is horrifying. I am about to visit my doctor today regarding my most recent attacks. I am hoping I will be able to get an epipen.

In the meantime, I always use my Ventolin puffer - even though I cannot suck up the vapour, I feel that it must be able to help somehow. It does not immediately work but I have not passed out or come close to passing out, so maybe it does have an effect. I hope this can help other people who suffer with these very debilitating spasms.
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I have had laryngospasms since undergoing radiation treatment for cancer cells remaining after removal of my cancerous thyroid. That was 10 years ago. I had 2 before checking with my doctor. He said that it was a side effect of the radiation treatment. After having several more, I found that these were affecting the way I lived.  I sought help from a hypnotherapist so I could handle the panic. After 3 visits, I developed a routine to follow at the onset that helps me stay calm but doesn't always stop them. I take Tussionex, a high-powered cough med and drink hot tea with honey along with ice water. My family and close friends know the routine and can usually get help, even in public places. Hot water does the trick too. Just had one today while having lunch with a friend. I was told that my inhaler for asthma just irritated the throat more so I don't grab that. I am glad I found this forum after a long search. I always tell my dentist and other professionals about this and some take it very seriously and some look at me with puzzlement. I know well the pin pricking sensation on the side of the throat that some have mentioned. Mine is especially irritated by smoke in the air, fatigue and stress. Of course, I avoid getting colds as much as possible too. I hope this helps. It is so good to communicate with those who suffer from this frightening problem.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 64 and laryngeal spasm hit me for the first time a month ago. It happened after a bout of excessive cough. Since then It occurred 4 times , twice at night. The description of the symptoms is like all of you.
I am a physician , I understood what is happening, I try to reassure myself , but the panic takes over. Holding the breath as much as possible may be helpful. If you can.
The cause of my cough is adult Whooping cough that I caught from a patient.
I found out that The tickle is relieved  after ibuprofen or plain pseudo ephedrine. So i take it before my meals
Also , at night a mild tranquilizer may prevent it . Vistaril gives me a good night sleep .
I shall try extra magnesium and report back to this community
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